Ants can eat their dead bodies because they scavenge. They don’t generally attack bed bugs because they conceal in places difficult to reach. The ants are unable to locate them to eat or kill them.
Different species, such as red imported fire ants, are healthy bed bug predators, but they don’t kill them very often.
However, if ants decapitate bed bugs, you should not allow them to do so. Heat, not ants, should be used to eradicate your bed bug infestation. As we’ll see, ants are a terrible natural bed bug treatment.
Do Ants Eat Bed Bugs?
It’s a long-held belief that ants can kill bed bugs. Per the Gothamist, the topic was shrouded in a 1907 news piece from the Salt Lake Tribune.
A lizard was allegedly kept with a crew of train workers, but when they were on a break, the lizard would eat any flies or other bugs that would otherwise bother them. But their bed bug solution was even better.
To decapitate them, the workers would release a jar of black ants. After hobos stayed there, their train carriages were infested with bed bugs.
The remedy did work, according to the article: “The ants diligently seek out and destroy the bed bugs.” The notion that ants kill bed bugs has reemerged on occasion since then. It’s another question whether it’s true or not.
It’s unclear why someone would fabricate a story like this. During this period, many stories were not fact-checked. They were either recycled from other newspapers or made up to fill in the gaps in the story. As a result, don’t believe everything you hear.
Do Ants Eat Other Insects Like Bed Bugs?
The first thing to note is the most common ant species in the United States. Nearly 1,000 ant species have been identified in North America, including Mexico and Canada. The species and their behavior differ depending on their environment.
In the United States, there isn’t a single ant species that is the most common. One thing that all ants have in common is that they eat sugary foods. It’s for a purpose that they have such a bad reputation.
Either rotting fruit or nectar are the most common sources of food. Honeydew is the primary food source for most ants.
This is essentially what aphids leave behind as a waste product. Aphids eat sap and excrete a sticky, sugary substance known as poo.
Many ant species raise aphids by collecting them and keeping them safe from predators. They eat honeydew regularly and bring it back to their colony.
Ants, on the other hand, may consume leftovers. A few ants eat insects like bed bugs, but how common this is debatable. At the very least, many ant species eat dead insects.
ALSO SEE: Do Ants eat Cockroaches?
Do Ants Eat Bed Bugs?
A variety of ant species kills bed Bugs. When you glance at an ant, you can never tell one from another. Some may be larger, while others may be smaller. Some may be red, while others may be black.
However, with over 1000 species, they differ more than we acknowledge.
They exhibit a wide range of behavior. Some ants eat certain foods, while others do not. Some ants will kill for meals, but the large bulk will scavenge conversely. One of the crucial reasons ants aren’t a good bed bug treatment is this.
Let’s focus on some of the most dangerous ant species to see if they eat bed bugs.
Carpenter Ants vs. Bed Bugs
Carpenter ants are a prevalent ant genus in the U.s. They are vast ants, measuring about an inch in length at their largest.
They’re black, and they infiltrate homes where there’s food.
The majority of people believe they eat wood, hence their name. If you discover them in your house, they’ll most likely be slithering in and out of holes in the wood.
They do not, however, consume wood. They live in it and lay their eggs in it.
Carpenter ants consume a diverse range of foods. They eat leftovers most of the time, but they are predators as well as scavengers. They scavenge for dead insects at night, both in the wild and in people’s homes.
They encircle it and drain its fluids while leaving the rest of the insect alone.
On the other hand, Carpenter ants do not kill bed bugs, but they can feed on them. They have a stinger, but they only use it when disturbed.
Argentine Ants vs. Bed Bugs
Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and a few other South American countries are home to the Argentine ant. However, trade has accidentally assisted this ant in traveling worldwide in recent years.
These are tiny ants, measuring less than a tenth of an inch in length, tho queens are longer. They range in color from dark brown to black. They, like carpenter ants, can reside in fissures in walls and in wood. Unlike other species, they do not construct deep nests and instead rely on their surroundings.
Argentine ants excel at conquering new territories. This is because colonies do not compete for resources. Instead, they collaborate. They’ve skillfully colonized the south, particularly the areas around Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as the West Coast.
They eat a variety of things, just like other ants. Although Argentine ants desire sweet foods, they will kill insects for protein.
However, they will not kill the bed bugs that they come across. They can’t quickly kill insects because they do not have any stingers like other ants.
Bed Bugs vs. Red Imported Fire Ants
Also known as red imported fire ants, fire ants are native to South America. And, like Argentine ants, they’ve spread across the globe, including Australia, New Zealand, Asian countries, and the United States.
They’re possibly the worst kind of ant you could have in your house. Their venom, which causes an intense burning sensation, gives them their name. The bite area swells up, similar to a bed bug bite. They can even cause anaphylaxis in some people.
Fire ants are meat-eaters, but they prefer to scavenge rather than hunt. They can eat bugs and dead vertebrates. Like many other ant species, the wolf-down honeydew droplets are made by aphids.
On the other hand, Rivas are known to be voracious insect predators when given the opportunity. They’ll swarm an insect, kill it, and return it to their colony. Alternatively, they could drain the bug and leave it to die without bringing it home.
On the other hand, these ants are unlikely to hunt bed bugs. If they found one dead, they’d scavenge on it. As we’ll see, there are several reasons why bed bug hunting is too tricky for them.
Bed Bugs vs. European Fire Ants
Another invasive red ant species is the European fire ant. These ants, however, are not from South America but rather from Europe. They sting and are aggressive, though not quite as much as RIFAs.
These creatures are intrusive in the eastern United States, particularly in Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.
Honeydew is the primary food source for these ants. They could but strike and eat insects that they come across. Perhaps minor bed bugs will give them the protein and nutrition they require.
They’ll attack anything that disturbs their nest, whether it’s something they can eat or something more significant like you.
These ants haven’t yet spread across the United States. So, if you think you have bed bug-eating ants, it’s most likely not these.
Bed Bugs vs. Pharaoh Ants
Pharaoh ants are a significant undesirable pest all over the world. Their precise origins are unclear; they could have originated anywhere on the planet. They thrive in tropical climates, which could indicate where they originated.
They now infest every continent, from Southeast Asia, Europe to the Americas and everywhere in between. They are particularly prevalent in hospitals. They can live anywhere on the planet that has a comfortable indoor temperature.
Compared to the other ants on with us, Pharaoh ants are pretty small. They’re only about a sixteenth of an inch long. These ants eat a wide variety of foods. They frequently switch back and forth between carbohydrate- and protein-rich foods.
They’ll eat anything sweet, including leftovers. However, if they consume too much sugar, they will switch to a different type of food. This allows them to keep their colony’s nutritional balance.
Except for red imported fire ants, these ants aren’t known to be good hunters. As a result, any bed bugs they find are unlikely to be killed. However, their widespread distribution may have more opportunities to attack than other genera because of their widespread distribution.
Asian Needle Ants vs. Bed Bugs
Among the most, probably ant species to decapitate bed bugs is Asian needle ants. They only have lately come to the U.S. and have yet to disperse all across the continent. Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia are still the only places where you can find them.
The sting of these ants is venomous. Their venom is strong enough to cause a painful blister if they bite you. If you’re unfortunate, it can also cause anaphylactic shock.
They have this bite to hunt. Termites are their famous food. When one of these ants comes across one, it encloses it in a tight hug and stings it deep beneath the skin with its stinger. It’s uncertain whether they’ll die or be paralyzed due to this.
In either case, the ants will return it to their enclosure and store it for later use. The termite will remain paralyzed for longer preservation.
It’s unclear if Asian needle ants can kill bed bugs in this manner. As per CABI, termites account for nearly 80% of the Asian needle ant’s meal. Arthropods and other invertebrates make up the rest.
This may include bedbugs. Asian needle ants are a strong contender for the most bed bug-eating ant.
Is Using Ants to Kill Bed Bugs Possible?
Even if you find the ideal ant species to eat bed bugs, you should never use them as a bed bug control strategy. This is why.
1) Ants are a nuisance as well.
Ants, like bed bugs, are a nuisance. Bed bugs are, without a doubt, more irritating than ants. Bed bugs, unlike ants, feed on people. On the other hand, Ants do things that bed bugs don’t, like getting into your food.
Your apartment’s framework is being harmed (e.g., carpenter ants)
Your home’s structural damage will get worse.
Getting up in the middle of the day and crawling around
Crawling on you at all hours of the day and night
As a result, if you use ants to get rid of bed bugs, you’re just creating a new problem. Ants are also challenging to eradicate. They, like bed bugs, hide in dark corners and can successfully reproduce if killed.
2) Bed Bugs are inaccessible to ants.
Bed bugs love to stay in dark places. They seek out and hide in places where they will not be disturbed. They only come out at night when it’s time for them to eat.
When ants scavenge, they prefer to do so in open spaces to move around freely. This is because they must encircle their food source to either move or drain it.
In the tight cracks where bed bugs live, this would be unrealistic.
This also holds to bed bugs that have died. Bed bugs will die wherever they have been. Fissures in the wall or under your bed are examples of these places. They don’t move around as much before they die, so they die in one spot.
3) Ants Cause Property Damage
Ants are equivalent to termites in that many genera can cause structural damage to your home. Carpenter ants are the most transparent illustration, as they burrow into wood to build their nests. However, ants cause property damage in other ways as well.
Ants that don’t penetrate deep love to hide in wall fractures. They risk widening the crack in the process. This also applies to skirting boards, wood floors, and other gaps. However, if the ants consciously dug into them, the destruction takes longer to show up.
Electronics attract certain species. They can short-circuit them by hiding inside. This can result in a fire hazard. Furthermore, most varieties dispose of waste by shoving it outside their colony, resulting in piles.
Ants can be both a symptom and a sign of damage to your home. Ants chose to live in moist, dark environments. A considerable infestation could be an indication of hidden water damage in your home.
At the very least, ants do not spread disease like many other insects.
4) Killing Ants Is Expensive
You’ll need to employ a pest control company to eliminate the infestation, just like with bed bugs. You can try Homemade methods, but they are ineffective compared to pesticides that are sprayed. They take a very long time to work as well.
As a result, you’ll need to hire a pest control company. However, exterminators are not inexpensive. Hiring them will set you back hundreds of dollars. It won’t cost you any less because the exterminators who treat ants are the same ones who treat bed bugs.
On the other hand, Ants are a lot easier to get rid of than bed bugs. You can get rid of them much more quickly than bed bugs. However, ants can return from the outside very quickly after treatment.
5) There are many Invasive Ant Species
The vast majority of the species on this list are invasive. Native species in the United States are mostly harmless and do not forage for food. Invasive species, on the other hand, will succeed.
As a result, if you wished to use ants to regulate bed bugs, you’d have to go with an endangered species. That’s a bad idea for the following reasons:
Invasive species harm native wildlife.
Invasive species can quickly become out of control, making them even more expensive to eradicate.
So, in general, incorporating ants to regulate bed bugs is a waste of time. It simply will not work, but before you realize it, you’ll be dealing with two invasive species. Instead of hiring a pest control company, try some DIY bed bug therapies.