Are you looking for an answer to the question: Do ants eat cockroaches? If it is so, then now your search is over.
In this column, I will explain some compelling information about ants’ diet, and whether they can eat cockroaches or not, so for this, you have to stay tuned and read the entire article.
In this article, we will see if ants are the predators of cockroaches or not and if they can help us to eliminate roach infestation.
I have a grip on various insects and am always looking to explore more. So, if you also want to, then what are you waiting for? Let’sLet’s begin.
Do Ants Eat Cockroaches?
Yes, ants can eat roaches because they have a digestive system that can process cockroaches efficiently. Besides, they also have tearing structures that are strong enough to eat roaches. Ants eat cockroaches to gain nutrients so they can drive energy for their normal body processes, and due to their high nutritional value, they are a good choice for them.
The notable point is that not all ants can eat cockroaches unless in a place with a limited area because they have fast-moving legs and can run away quickly.
So, to consume a cockroach, an ant must be capable of doing so. Moreover, conditions also matter, such as limited area.
Do Ants Feed on Dead Cockroaches?
As I have mentioned above, ants can eat cockroaches, but what are the reasons why ants are attracted to them? To know this, you have to read further.
Like all living organisms, including humans, ants also get their food from two sources; the first is food they get from a plant source, and the second is from an animal source.
This implies that ants are omnivores. In plant sources, ants can feed on leaves and plants, whereas to get food from animal sources, they can go for insects that are smaller in size.
Animal sources for ants include cockroaches, termites, and bees. Ants primarily feed on dead insects because they don’t have enough ability to trap them.
Moreover, ants, like cockroaches, are not choosy in terms of food, and they don’t only feed on selective foods; instead, they can eat anything which is easy to eat and process.
The other reason for feeding cockroaches is their nutritional value. Nutrients are as essential for animals and insects as they are for humans.
Importance of Cockroaches for Ants
Ants, particularly young ones, need more protein as it helps in the formation of various productive substances, such as enzymes that are required to regulate reactions in ants’ bodies.
So, cockroaches are a good source of protein as they have meat beneath their exoskeleton, which is high in protein.
Moreover, hydration is also crucial for ants as water keeps them active, is used to excrete waste materials, and is essential for various chemical reactions, and roaches can fulfill this requirement.
Just like all other nutrients, carbohydrates also have a role in ants, and it is considered paramount and most important because they provide energy to them, and ants can get this from roaches.
In addition, cockroaches are also rich in micronutrients which are as crucial for insects as macronutrients. So let’s see what these are and how they perform a function in ants.
1. Functions of Calcium in Ants
As you know that calcium is essential for humans as it makes our bones strong enough to bear stress and to do routine work.
So, if I say that it is also vital for ants, then a question may arise in your mind: why? So let’s see what functions calcium performs in ants.
- Calcium helps in the reproduction process of ants.
- Female ants play an essential role in the reactions that lead to egg formation.
- After the complete development of the egg, it also helps baby insects to grow and reach maturation.
- Calcium also plays a role in maintaining internal balance in ants.
- Moreover, calcium also plays a role in biological reactions in ants that help them to survive.
2. Functions of Magnesium in Ants
Magnesium also plays a pivotal role in ants and is significant for them. All insects, including ants, have a protective covering outside their body.
The protective covering of ants is called the exoskeleton, which is of great importance for them as the name implies it protects ants.
It covers all the major and critical organs of ants and blocks the entrance of harmful pathogens inside the body. This covering also can bear a small amount of shock and stress.
As I have explained, the importance of the exoskeleton of ants, but what is the role of magnesium in this process? Actually, magnesium makes the outer shell of insects strong.
An ant with an excellent outer shell is considered solid and resistant to adverse conditions.
3. Function of Potassium in Ants
Potassium is also crucial for insects. Potassium improves the generation of nerve impulses and their travel toward the brain. This makes an ant more active and efficient.
Certain conditions need a sudden response, like an attack of any predator, or to escape such conditions; therefore, the reflexes of ants must be strong, which depends on nerve activity.
Such conditions also involve muscle movements, and potassium is also related to muscles; it makes them strong and heals the injury in the muscles of ants.
4. Function of Phosphorus in Ants
Cockroaches also have a good amount of phosphorus in them, which helps in the reactions that lead to the growth of body tissues in ants.
Phosphorus is linked with the tissues of ants; in case of injury, it helps in the repair process also. Moreover, it is essential for maintaining all body reactions typically.
5. Function of Sodium in Ants
Sodium is present in the spaces outside the cells of ants, and its presence is essential for maintaining fluid-electrolyte balance in cells.
It also generates nerve impulses through chemical stimulation in various conditions, which travel to the brain, and the brain, in turn, produces a response. So, it is pivotal for generating responses.
Sodium receptors are also present in muscles to send impulses to the brain when there is a need for muscle contraction, so this also helps in the muscle movement of ants.
6. Function of Manganese in Ants
Manganese is vital for the strength of various parts of the ants. It makes the ants strong and helps to fight against unfavorable conditions.
Manganese provides rigidity to specific internal and external parts to bear the stress, such as the exoskeleton; manganese is essential for its hardness.
7. Function of Zinc in Ants
Zinc is an essential mineral for ants. It helps ants to eat and bite by making their teeth strong, challenging, and sharp.
So, ants get this valuable mineral from roaches and, in turn, apply its application on them. Zinc also assists manganese by taking part in making the parts of ants strong, rigid, and stress-bearing.
Comparison of Other Insects and Cockroaches
In the table below, I have mentioned the nutritional value of cockroaches and other insects, which justifies the importance of cockroaches for ants.
Do Ants and Cockroaches Survive Together?
A short answer to this question is yes; even though insects can feed on roaches but they don’t typically attack cockroaches during their life period.
Moreover, insects have a great choice of food, and they can eat almost everything, so they don’t feed on living cockroaches unless they are forced due to a lack of food.
So ants don’t see cockroaches as their food, and they can also live together. This behavior was first considered species-specific when South American roaches were found to live with ants.
But cockroaches from any species can form a group or colony with ants, and they can survive together, but it also depends on the conditions and species of ants.
Ants That Can Prey on Living Cockroaches
As I have discussed earlier, ants can eat cockroaches, but they do so when the roaches are dead because ants are deprived of the ability to trap roaches due to their efficient movements.
But I have also researched some brave ants that can even eat cockroaches while living. Naturally, you will be eager to know about such ants, so let’s discuss.
1. How Do Fire Ants Prey on Living Roaches?
Fire ants are included in those types of ants that can feed on living cockroaches, so let’s discuss some characteristics of such ants.
- They attack their prey with their specialized poisonous sting. They insert it in living roaches and transfer poison that blocks the connection of the brain with other body parts.
- They are always ready to attack small insects and also some lizard species.
- Fire ants can play an essential role in reducing other insect species, such as cockroaches.
- They play an essential role in the food chain and population control.
- They are included in the genus Solenopsis.
2. How Do Army Ants Prey on Living Roaches?
Army ants are not the enemies of cockroaches only, but they are so brave and combative that they don’t even leave large species of insects and lizards.
They have the ability to remove the hurdles on their way to survival; whether they are cockroaches, lizards, or other insects, army insects don’t take pity on them.
Their name implies their combating feature. According to my research, army ants are blamed for reducing cockroaches by 50 %.
You will be thinking of using army insects to reduce roach infestation in your house. I will discuss this later, so keep reading.
3. How Do Argentine Ants Prey on Living Roaches?
Argentine ants are also combative ants like fire ants. But, they don’t have a poisonous injection to insert into the cockroach body, which we call a sting, so these ants prey on roaches.
These ants do not fight alone. They live in groups and make teams to attack cockroaches. They do a team word and cause a decrease in their numbers.
Why Do Ants Attack Living Cockroaches?
Most ants don’t attack cockroaches, and they don’t even eat them when they are living. Moreover, ants have a variety of food to eat, so they don’t go for cockroaches in the first place.
But some species of ants that are combative and brave prey on living cockroaches, but why? Some species of ants compete for survival, like fire ants and argentine ants.
They are concerned with their habitat and food and don’t want to share it with some other insects. Besides, roaches and ants have the same preferences.
So such ants attack cockroaches and eat them when they feel fear and think of losing their habitat or food.
Do Ants Keep Cockroaches Away?
As I have discussed, insects can eat cockroaches because their biting structures can tear them, and their digestive tract has the capability to process them.
But can we use ants to control cockroach infestation? Unfortunately, the simple answer to this question is No. As I have stated, most insects can’t feed on living cockroaches.
And the reason is that they are less efficient than cockroaches, and cockroaches can move fast and run away, so they cannot trap cockroaches to eat them.
So, it is hard for insects to handle cockroaches. Now, you must be thinking of violent and brave insects that can feed on living cockroaches.
Actually, only some ants can feed on living roaches, but for that, they must be significant in numbers, as we have seen that argentine ants attack living roaches in a group.
Ants can also cause various diseases and are included in pests, so I advise you to avoid arranging large numbers of ants to remove roach infestation, as you can also get one more.
How Can We Deal with a Cockroach Infestation?
As I mentioned, we cannot use ants to control roach infestation, but don’t worry; as I have stated, there are some methods you can use to control roach infestation.
1. Using Boric Acid or Diatomaceous Earth
Boric acid and diatomaceous earth are two beneficial ingredients to kill cockroaches. Let’sLet’s first talk about diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth is a white powdery substance that has the ability to kill roaches. So all you have to do is sprinkle it at the site of the cockroach infestation.
When roaches come in contact with this powdery substance, they experience severe dehydration and die after some time.
Now let’s see how we can use boric acid to kill roaches. Of course, you can use boric acid separately, but I found the mixture of boric acid and sugar more effective in killing roaches.
Roaches are in love with sugar, so the sugar will serve as an invitation letter for roaches. Boric acid absorbs into the roach body through its skin when they come in contact with the mixture.
The absorption of boric acid ultimately results in the death of the roach by blocking the connection between the brain and nerves. It is a slow process; the results come out in 5 to 6 days.
During these days, a roach that absorbs boric acid will also transfer it to other roaches that come in contact with it.
2. Using Roach Baits
Removing these insects permanently is impossible, but there are some effective methods you can use to kill these cockroaches.
One of these methods is using a poison spray known as roach baits. Roach baits tend to kill cockroaches by acting as a poison for them; although it is a slow process but really effective.
There are different forms of roach baits available in the market. You can either use it in the form of spray, gel, or powders.
I have used bait powder in my kitchen to get rid of these irritating creatures and found it really helpful, so I will recommend you use bait powder for this purpose.
All you need is to just sprinkle the powder in the corners of your kitchen or bathroom after cleaning it and then wait and watch.
The thought of getting rid of roaches often raises questions about their predators, like the one we discussed in this blog: Do ants eat cockroaches?
Actually, ants can feed on cockroaches, but most can only feed on dead cockroaches, and they prefer such roaches because they are difficult to catch during their life.
I have mentioned some ants that can prey on living roaches also, but you cannot use them to keep roaches away wholly, as they can also infest your house.
I hope you have learned something new.
Are Roaches Worse than Ants?
In terms of causing diseases, cockroaches win the battle. Ants can cause diseases, but they are not mainly known for this; therefore, roaches are worse than ants.
Do Ants Hate Cockroaches?
Ants don’t hate cockroaches, but some combative ants are believed to decrease their number, but the reason is their competition and to maintain the food chain instead of hate.
What is a Natural Predator of Cockroaches?
Some animals and insects naturally use cockroaches as their food, and they prey on them for survival. Like frogs, rats also eat roaches when there is no access to other foods.