The food humans eat and ants love to ingest are all consolation prizes to the ant’s desire for honeydew. Even the most decadent, extravagant, sweet treat you could think of eating at your home is the second prize compared to honeydew. Every ant type imaginable including carpenter ants, odorous house ants, moisture ants, etc. all want honeydew and prefer it over everything else.
What Else do Ants Eat?
One weird fact about carpenter ants and moisture ants; neither species actually consume wood. They lack the necessary protozoa in their guts to produce the enzymes needed to break down the cellulose in wood to gain any nutritional value from it. (Termites, on the other hand, are built for it.) Once a house is infested, the ants will happily survive on anything we humans leave out or behind. They will go after meats, dairy products, pastries, bread, raw or cooked fruits and vegetables and any type of juice left around. However, aside from survival and living on humans’ garbage, an ant’s top goal is to actively pursue honeydew. In fact, there are species in other parts of the world that have been known to actually herd leafhoppers and aphids in order to maintain a constant supply of honeydew.
Where Does Honeydew Come From?
Honeydew comes from the secretions of aphids or leafhoppers. When these insects feed on a plant, they produce honeydew ants crave. When a leafhopper or an aphid eats, they puncture the plant’s skin. The sugary sap under the leaf is under pressure and causes the aphid or leafhopper to immediately secrete the processed material in their bodies from their anus gland. If ever we needed more reasons to despise ants, then consider this–these uninvited guests would rather eat another insect’s fecal matter than eat the food from us humans.