Ants don’t necessarily have a preference for blood, but they do get attracted to it due to the different substances and nutrients such as proteins, sugar, and vitamins that it contains. Because of these, ants see blood as an attractive food source.
In this article we’ll look into the substances in blood and determine which of these substances may attract ants.
What Is Blood And What’s In It?
Blood is a red circulatory fluid that delivers essential materials to the cells in the body and transports metabolic waste products away. It’s composed of blood cells suspended in plasma, that of which constitutes 55% of blood fluid. This plasma is mostly water, but it also contains several substances such as proteins, lipids, and nutrients such as sugar, vitamins, and electrolytes.
Apart from these substances, blood, as a means to transport metabolic waste, also contains waste products such as dead cells and urea.
- Proteins: Blood plasma contains proteins which serve different functions including the transport of lipids, hormones, vitamins, and minerals. These proteins mostly include albumin which accounts for 55% of plasma protein and globulins which make up 38%. Other proteins include fibrinogen, immunoglobulin, and prothrombin.
- Lipids: Blood plasma also contains lipids or fatty substances. These include cholesterol and triglycerides which are essential for many of the body’s metabolic processes.
- Sugar: As the medium for transport in respiration, blood contains glucose, an important energy source which fuels the cells. Diabetics in particular, may have high amounts of glucose in their blood.
- Vitamins: Likewise, blood also carries and contains a number of vitamins including vitamin A, E, B6, B12, and folic acid.
- Electrolytes: Electrolytes are minerals found in blood and different body fluids.They help hydrate the body, regulate nerve function, and rebuild damaged tissue. These electrolytes include sodium, potassium, and chloride.
- Urea: Urea is a nitrogen-containing waste product of metabolism usually found in urine, but also in blood prior to filtration by the kidneys.
Why Are Ants Attracted To Blood?
As mentioned, ants aren’t exactly attracted to blood per se, but they are attracted to several substances that it contains. These substances are attractive to them as they’re what they need to survive and function. They are as follows:
- Water: Water is essential for a number of processes such as digestion, respiration, and molting. These processes are important for growth, development, and survival, hence the reason water is particularly attractive to ants. Generally speaking, ants get their water from moisture in food. But blood, which contains water, is most definitely also a viable source.
- Sugar: Sugar, particularly glucose, plays a major role in the process of respiration, a biochemical process which allows cells to obtain energy. Essentially, glucose helps produce the fuel which powers the cellular processes required to stay alive. Blood, therefore, serves as a food and energy source for ants.
- Lipids: Like sugar, lipids are high-energy food sources which would help fuel the cellular processes in an ant’s body. They can also be broken down into fatty acids which serve as building blocks for cuticular waxes and the synthesis of certain pheromones and defensive compounds.
- Vitamins: Vitamins are essential nutrients which allow ants to function properly and stay healthy. Vitamins A and E for instance, play a role in the synthesis of pigments, reproduction, and as antioxidants, help in detoxification and protect against infections.
- Sodium: Ants need sodium for muscular and nerve function as well as maintaining fluid balance in their bodies. Therefore, it isn’t unusual for ants to be attracted to saline solutions and other sources of sodium like blood.
- Urea: Some ant species such as the C. terebrans and others have bacterium in their digestive tracts which process urea into nitrogen. They then use this nitrogen for the production of proteins and amino acids.
- Proteins: Like urea, ants use proteins to produce amino acids and other necessary proteins.
Are Ants Attracted To Period Blood?
Yes, ants are also attracted to period blood. Period blood is basically still blood and will therefore contain the aforementioned substances that ants are attracted to. Furthermore, ants being the opportunistic eaters they are, don’t necessarily mind the decaying material in blood either. They’d eat whatever they could get their hands on.
Are Ants Attracted To Urine?
Yes, ants are attracted to urine. Similar to blood, ants are attracted to urine due to the substances that it contains. In fact, a number of the attractants in blood such as urea, sodium, sugar, and water, can also be found in urine.
Do Ants Have Blood?
Ants don’t have blood. Instead, they have hemolymph, a circulatory fluid found in arthropods. This hemolymph functions similarly to blood in that it transports nutrients and hormones through the ant body. The difference however, is that the former doesn’t have hemoglobin, and is therefore incapable of carrying oxygen. This is also the reason why it’s usually clear colored and not red like blood.
Summary: Are Ants Attracted To Blood?
Ants are attracted to blood because of the different substances that it contains. These substances include water, sugar, urea, and other nutrients which ants need to function well and survive.