Ants are attracted to water as much as they’re attracted to things they need to survive. They don’t necessarily have a thing or a special attraction for water but it’s more so the fact that water is essential to them as it is to other living things.
In this article we’ll discuss the reasons why ants can get attracted to water and why you may sometimes see them around water sources or moist areas in your home.
Why Are Ants Attracted To Water?
There are a number of reasons why ants could be attracted to water. But the primary and most important one is survival. Ants need water to survive and function. It is through water that they are able to fulfill important life processes such as the following:
- Digestion: Water aids in digestion by breaking down compounds required for survival such as glucose. It does so due to its chemical composition which consists of a polar arrangement of oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Having both positive and negative charges, water attracts different molecules which it disrupts and dissolves.
- Respiration: Respiration is a biochemical process in which cells obtain energy. For ants, the process involves the combination of glucose and oxygen to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an energy-carrying molecule used to fuel cellular processes. Among the byproducts of this process is water, which while isn’t necessarily used in respiration, plays an important role in allowing it to happen. As a solvent, water facilitates and helps cells transport molecules like oxygen, which as indicated is a key part of respiration.
- Molting: Ants undergo molting several times in their life. It is through such that they develop from blind and legless larvae to the adult ants we typically see. But for this process to succeed, ants need to take in water or air as a mechanism to expand and stretch the exoskeleton prior to sclerotization of cuticle hardening.
All in all, without water ants are in danger of drying out and will die in around seven to ten days.
Other Possible Reasons
Apart from survival, ants may also be attracted to water due to what’s in it. In some cases, water may contain other substances that also attract ants. Examples of these substances are as follows:
- Sugar: Ants love sweets and are generally attracted to anything with sugar. This is because sugar is a calorie-dense food source which provides them the energy they need to stay active and function. Like water, sugar is also a key component to their survival. So don’t be surprised if you find them around sweetened or sugar water.
- Salt: Ants need salt to maintain muscular activity, nerve function, and water balance. So don’t be surprised if they’re as attracted to saline solutions as they are to sweetened water. In fact, a study suggests that ants tend to prefer salty food over sweets when they live in salt-poor areas. This was shown to be especially true for herbivorous ants which don’t get enough salt from their food.
Ants In Moist Areas Or Water Sources Of Your Home
While ants most certainly need water, they don’t need an excessive amount of it to survive. They can usually satisfy their need for it just through the food they consume or small puddles and water droplets that they can find. So they don’t generally invade homes for water unless in very dry climates when there is scarcity. If such is the case though, then you’ll most likely find them around water sources or moist areas in your home.
Apart from that, there are specific types of ants that require plenty of water to survive and thus habitually nest around high-moisture areas. These ants are called moisture ants and you typically find them around wood damaged by moisture.
Moisture ants are usually considered a nuisance as they speed up the decaying process of damaged wood. However, these ants aren’t actually wood destructive as they don’t infest dry wood and are pretty much harmless in other circumstances. So it’s best if you consider them a symptom rather than a problem.
If you see moisture ants in or around your home, then there’s a high chance that you may have water problems such as leaks.
Are Ants Attracted To Urine?
Ants can be attracted to urine. In some cases urine may contain high amounts of glucose, a type of sugar which ants also use for energy. Urine also contains urea which some ants like the Camponotus terebrans use as an energy source.
Are Ants Attracted To Sweat?
Ants are attracted to sweat in a similar way that they’re attracted to urine and in some cases water. Sweat contains small amounts of salt, glucose, and urea which are again necessary for their survival and for them to function.
Are Ants Attracted To Lemon Juice?
Ants are by no means attracted to lemon juice. In fact, they probably even hate it. Lemon juice is a known repellent of ants. It’s smell and acid is known to disrupt the scent trails that ants use to communicate and as a result it deters them.
Summary: Are Ants Attracted To Water?
Ants are attracted to anything they need to survive and it just so happens that water is an important part of their survival. They need water for their bodies to properly function and without it they eventually dry out and die. So don’t be shocked if you find ants invading your home and water sources. They’re just trying to stay alive.