Ask a Scientist: Sneaky Snacking

Hungry Hamster asks, “Why do ants steal my food?”

Great question, Hungry Hamster! Just like you, ants can eat a lot of different types of food. Sometimes, ants will even eat EXACTLY the same food as you. This is why they can be found in people’s homes or as unwanted guests at your picnics. Once an ant has found a great food source, they will bring some of it back to their nest and invite other members of their colony, or group, to get more food there. The way they do this is by laying down a scent trail that their fellow ants can follow from the nest to the food and back. So once one ant has found your lunch, there will soon be a lot more joining the party!

-Nicole, the insect scientist

To learn more about ants, check out this article for kids or this one for our older explorers!

If you have any questions about animals for our scientists, you can submit them here.

Nicole W. Korzeniecki is a PhD student in the Animal Behavior Graduate Group at UC Davis. She is studying how termites work together with the bacteria in their gut to keep their colony healthy.

Main image [Source]: Ants feeding on a piece of candy.

[Edited by Nicole W. Korzeniecki]

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