Ants and water

Hi AntBlog,

Do ants need water in their nests? And, if so, how do they get it there? I assume individual ants need water - the commonly held belief that ants come in kitchens for water - is that true?


Hi Natasha,

Thanks for contacting us at AntBlog.

As any organisms ants do indeed need water. Their need for water is higher when humidity is low, for example in desert regions or during hot and dry summer months. Individual workers will take up water and then transport it to their nest. Ants have a crop, a so-called "social stomach". They can use this stomach to store food and liquids and then regurgitate it when they need to share it. This is a very common mechanism by which ants feed the brood of the colony. Sometimes food is also shared among workers, different adult members of the colony. This "mouth-to-mouth feeding" is called trophallaxis.

To answer the second part of your question, during very dry weeks ants may indeed come into a kitchen because they are attracted by water. More commonly though ants come into kitchens because food is left out and they are attracted by food. Often, ants are attracted to sweet foods, which are left out. We have a general post on how to get rid of ants in your house here.

I hope this helps,
Steffi Kautz & the AntAsk Team

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