Ants don’t normally eat worms, but under the right conditions, they will. The underlying problem is the ants and what is attracting them to the worms.
Ants are omnivorous insects. They feed on a wide variety of plants and animals. Ants do not eat worms, but they may eat them if they are freshly deceased. Worms and ants are known to live peacefully with each other. However, if ants are predatory, they may inflict harm on worms.
This article will explain the circumstance where ants will eat worms, the type of ants, and what you can do to prevent them.
Do Ants Eat Worms
We know that ants are omnivorous animals. They eat everything present in nature and have a nutritional value attached. Most ants do not eat worms, but they may eat dead worms.
Ants inflict harm on worms by only attacking the worms’ food. Sometimes, ants make their way to compost bins to seek vegetables and fruit scraps meant for worms. This is the only kind of harm inflicted by ants on worms.
However, if these ants come in the category of predatory ants, your worms in the compost are in danger. Predatory ants attack the worms. They have strong mandibles to bite and hold the worm.
A toxic venom is released into the prey’s (worm’s) body paralyzing the worm to immobilize them. Since worms are bigger than ants, they can’t carry them back to their colonies.
Therefore, they cut the worm into pieces, and all the ants assist each other in carrying the worms to their respective colonies.
Types of Ants that Eat Worms
Ants don’t eat worms, especially if they are alive. However, some ants feed directly upon worms and are dangerous to their lives. These are known as predatory ants.
There are mainly three types of predatory ants that eat worms. These are Army ants, carpenter ants, and fire ants.
Let us learn more about these ants.
Army ants are known to be the scariest ants in the universe. They consist of large-toothed jaws, which they use to eat the reptiles, frogs, small birds, worms, etc. These creatures are much bigger than these ants, yet they danger their existence.
These ants specialize in eating other ants, and hence they are known as cannibalistic creatures.
Army ants don’t stick to one place. They keep on moving from one place to another. They are nomadic.
They stay at one place temporarily and then shift to another in search of nutritious food to sustain their colony. Often, they find their spots from one worm compost bin to another worm compost bin.
Carpenter ants have another name attached to themselves. They are also known as wood ants. They got their name wood ants, as they are known to build and chew nests on decaying wood until they get completely ruined.
These carpenter ants come from predatory ants and feed on other insects and ants species. They attack different types of worms, and hence it is advised to keep them away from worm compost bins.
Whenever carpenter ants find worms, they attack, paralyze and break them into pieces so that it becomes easier for ants to carry dead worms to their nests.
But the most exciting thing is that worms are safe from carpenter ants in the winter season. These ants hibernate during the winter season due to their non-ability to survive in cold temperatures.
During this season, they survive and rely on the foods that carpenter ants have already stored for themselves for the winter season.
Fire ants usually feed on plants. Their primary source is to feed on plants. But if they get the opportunity, they do not shy away from eating insects and worms.
While searching for food, they may jump into compost bins in place of food scraps and vegetables. However, in this process, they may come in contact with worms and hence attack them.
Fire ants have a robust mandibles system which makes them capable of biting and paralyzing their potential prey. Besides this, they also have a venomous sting at the rear end of their abdomen, assisting them in the paralyzation process.
Additionally, fire ants are known to be skilled and well adapted to kill and feed on small insects. Hence, making worms their prey isn’t a difficult task.
How to Prevent Ants from Getting into a Worm Bin
Are you looking to prevent your pants from getting into the worm bin? But don’t know how to do so? Relax! We have figured out some of the best practices that you can adopt if you want to keep ants away from the worm bin.
Raise the Moisture Level
The easiest method to keep ants away from the compost bin is to raise the moisture level of the compost bin.
This will result in the non-toleration of temperature by ants. This is because ants don’t like the high humidity levels.
Dry compost bins are a good place for ants to feed. But if your compost bin is wet, it will be difficult for ants to survive.
To make sure that your compost bin is neither too dry nor too wet, keep sprinkling the water once a week and adding the materials to balance the mixture.
Diatomaceous is one of the best ways to protect your worm bin from ants. It is a repellant that can kill ants very quickly. Spreading diatomaceous earth around the worm pit will deny ants entry to the pits.
The reason behind this is that diatomaceous earth is capable of killing ants. It is a chalk-like powder substance derived from the shells of ancient marine algae.
The shell consists of silica. Silica is known to be an effective insecticide.
Therefore, if ants come in contact with diatomaceous earth, this chalk-like powder substance will absorb all the moisture of ants and dehydrate them, ultimately reducing them to death.
Create an Island Surrounded by Water
Ants aren’t said to be good swimmers. This negative point of ants can prove to be a boon for us as this will be used as one of the methods to keep ants away from the worm pits.
Ants are afraid of water and create an island around the worm pit surrounded by water. Whenever the ants try to enter the compost bin, they will be trapped and will drown shortly after.
Method of Creating a Worm Bin Island
This is the simplest method to keep ants away from the compost bin. To create an island, you need to follow a few simple steps given below:
- Collect the materials.
- A waterproof basin or container that is larger than your worm farm
- 2 to 4 bricks
- A few liters/gallons of water
- Take the waterproof basin/container and place it in the garden where you want to set up an island.
- Place the bricks in that basin/container so that your worm pit can stand firmly on it.
- Fill the basin/container with at least two inch/5 cm of water.
- The last step remaining is to place the worm pit on the bricks.
- Ensure that neither the bricks nor the worm pit touch any side of the basin/container. This is to ensure that worms cannot access the worm farm now. Ants cannot swim or cross the water.
Hence, surrounding the compost pit with water is another best method to keep ants away from the compost pit.
Apply Sticky Coating to the Base Sides
Another method that you can choose to tangle footings away from the worm pit is to apply a sticky coating to the sidewalls of the bin so that whenever ants try to travel inside the pit, they get stuck to it.
You can use vaseline, petroleum jelly, or tanglefoot to create stickiness. But since this method works temporarily, you would have to re-apply it periodically to create stickiness again. But sometimes, choosing this method can be quite a messy affair.
Are Ants Attracted to Worms or the Food They Eat?
Most ants, except predatory ants, are attracted to the food that worms eat. The primary purpose of these ants going into the compost pit is to attack the food and not the worms.
But if the worms are dead, then ants may feed on them. However, with predatory ants, the purpose may shift to eating the worms.
So, ants are attracted to the food that worms eat. They will be attracted to worms only in two cases; either the worm is dead, or the ants fall in the category of predatory ants.
Because of the ants’ omnivorous nature, they feed one everything they find. Compost pits are the best place for them to find their food choice.
However, most often, ants are known not to eat worms. They only eat a worm if that is a deceased one. But there is an exception to the same.
If ants fall in the category of predatory ants, then the life of worms may be in danger. It is safe to say that ants, except predatory ants, don’t inflict any harm directly on worms.
They only attack the worm’s source of food.
We hope this article will serve you as a great piece of information, and your worm composting problem will be solved easily.