So what do fire ants eat? Well, Fire ants are omnivorous and can eat almost anything, but the primary food of fire ants insects, plant material, and small animals. They will also forage dead animals. Read on to know more about the food sources of fire ants.
Fire ants get attracted to the oils in insects, worms and seeds. This is the reason why oils are used in fire ant baits and insecticide solvents to attract them .The fire ants workers sting other insects and then slash them into small handy pieces, which they can easily take back into the colony. But it is seen that during the winter months, fire ants are less attracted to oils.
Other then oil, the fire ants also like sugars. Therefore, the other food sources of fire ants are nectar or aphid honeydew. The fire ant workers can only swallow liquids as they cannot chew. All the small pieces of solid foods that are brought back into the colony by the workers get digested by larvae in the fourth stage of development and are also offered as food for fire ants.
It is during the warmer months when temperatures are between 22°C and 36°C that the fire ant workers forage, looking for food for fire ants. As they can only consume liquids, it is seen that nearly half of the food of fire ants are liquids, which are stored in the ant's stomach or a gland in the head. These liquids are usually oils or carbohydrates and are fed to reserves. The reserves then feed the nurses, and the nurses in turn feed the brood and queen.
There are four larval stages in fire ants, also known as instars. The food of fire ants in the first three larval stages is liquids, while the fourth instar larvae is offered solid food. The fourth stage larvae are able to break down the solid food into proteins, which is then distributed by the nurses to the younger larvae. Fire ants also pass regurgitated food to each other through a procedure known as trophallaxis.
We are sure you have the answer to what does fire ant eat after going through this article.
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