Did you know that ants have a keen sense of smell? Ants actually have four to five times more odor receptors (located on their antennae) than most other insects. It’s this exceptional sense of smell that helps ants find food.
Ants eat a variety of foods, depending on their type. For example, carpenter ants prefer meats and foods containing fats and sugar. Outdoors, carpenter ants feed on live and dead insects and honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids and scale insects. Indoors, carpenter ants feast on meat, pet food, syrup, honey, sugar, jelly and other sweets.
Worker ants (sterile, wingless females) generally find food for the queens (who lay the eggs), reproductive males and young in their colony. Worker ants often forage for food at night (between sunset and midnight) in the spring and summer, traveling up to 100 yards from their nest to find food.
Ants sometimes remain active in the winter if their nest is warm enough from sunlight, mild outdoor temperatures or inside heat. When ants are active in the winter, they typically forage at night looking for food and moisture. You may see them near your dishwasher, sinks, bathtubs or other damp areas.