Ants are not producers. They’re incapable of making their own food from raw materials. Instead, they rely on other organisms for energy and nutrition.
In this article, we’ll learn why ants aren’t producers by discussing the following:
- What are producers
- Why ants are not producers
We’ll also determine what ants are if they’re not producers and their actual role in the food chain.
What are Producers?
Producers are organisms capable of manufacturing their own food. Through photosynthesis or chemosynthesis, producers turn raw materials into sugars. 
These sugars are what other organisms use for energy. With that, producers then fuel all life on earth and form the base of the food chain.
Which Organisms are Producers?
Producers are organisms capable of storing and synthesizing light energy. These organisms include plants and algae.
Within the cells of these organisms are organelles called chloroplasts. These chloroplasts store light energy absorbed by pigments like chlorophyll. It is also in these chloroplasts where photosynthesis occurs.
Producers may also be single-celled bacteria. Cyanobacteria, for example, are capable of photosynthesis despite their lack of chloroplasts. Instead of chloroplasts, they store light energy in the cytoplasm.
There are also some bacteria that use chemosynthesis instead of photosynthesis. In place of sunlight, these bacteria use chemical alternatives for energy. 
Why are Ants Not Producers?
As animals, ants don’t have the same biological makeup as producers. Their cells don’t contain chloroplasts and chlorophyll. Therefore, they can’t absorb and store light energy.
Without those, it’s impossible for them to perform photosynthesis. Likewise, ants are also incapable of chemosynthesis.
If Not Producers, What Are Ants?
Since ants can’t produce their own food, they have to rely on other organisms for food and nutrition. As such, ants are considered to be heterotrophs or consumers.
Specifically, ants are secondary consumers since they are omnivorous.
Ants are also considered to be decomposers or more specifically, detritivores. They consume dead animals and organic waste.
In doing so, they play an important role in cleaning the environment. They help prevent the spread of disease and in recycling nutrients that plants use to grow.
See this article to learn more about ants as decomposers and consumers.
Summary: Are Ants Producers?
To summarize, ants are not producers. As animals, they don’t have the necessary cell organelles to perform photosynthesis. They can’t create their own food and have to consume other organisms for energy and nutrition.
That said, the fact that they’re not producers, does not mean that they’re any less significant. As consumers and decomposers, ants play an important role in the environment. They help recycle nutrients and facilitate energy transfer between organisms including producers.