Ants are fascinating creatures, carrying morsels of food up to twenty times their own body weight and stopping at nothing to replenish their queen.
If you’ve ever had an ant infestation in your house, you might have noticed these little guys swarming a bloody tissue tossed into the trash bin or slurping up a drop of blood left in the bathtub after shaving your legs. This is because ants are attracted to blood.
Are Ants Attracted To Blood?
Yes ants are attracted to blood.
The reason ants are attracted to blood is because blood from humans and non-human animals contains proteins that smell nice to the ants, as well as salty minerals that taste delicious. Eating blood is therefore a great way to provide the queen ant with what she needs to thrive and produce more eggs.
Yes, ants enjoy eating any kind of blood. This is why you can commonly find them in trash bins or crawling across bathroom countertops. They probably found the tissue your roommate used to stop her nosebleed, or perhaps the used sanitary napkin you threw into the bin half an hour ago.
While blood is considered to be a rather unsightly biohazard, it is only human to bleed — and you might not necessarily have bandages at hand. An old paper towel used to soak up blood from a nasty cut could lead to an entire colony of ants infesting the trash bin in your bathroom or kitchen.
For this reason, it is smart to use trash bins that have a lid. It might also be a good idea to spray ant killer around the perimeter of the trash bin if you are already dealing with an infestation.
It’s funny that ants are attracted to blood because they actually don’t have any blood, they have hemolymphs instead. Learn more about this and ant’s hearts in our guide!
They sure are! Aesthetics aside, this is another good reason to always tightly wrap used menstrual products in plenty of toilet paper when you are done using them.
Ants are attracted to period blood just as they are attracted to any other blood. Like any type of spilled blood, period blood is a great source of sodium and minerals for them. However, period blood tends to have a stronger odor due to the fact it begins to decay as soon as it gets released from the body.
When period blood dries, it tends to form clots and chunks on the used sanitary napkin. These chunks are the perfect size and consistency for ants to break apart and take back to their queen in small pieces. Aggressive, predator ants are more likely to engage in this type of behavior especially when they are hungry.
Using scented sanitary napkins can help prevent ants from completely taking over your trash bin. Ants do not like chemicals or anything that has a perfume-like odor to it because it messes with their pheromones. This is why sanitary napkins often smell nice when you first open them up.
As mentioned previously, ants are attracted to blood because it is an excellent source of sodium. Salt can be hard to come by, especially in the wild, so ants will be drawn any dead animals that have spilled blood. This is especially true if the blood is relatively fresh — the fresher the better for ants.
That being said, ants are perfectly happy to eat blood that is rotting and decomposing. As much as they enjoy fresh blood, the strong odor from old blood will still attract them to the source. For this reason, it is best to use covered trash cans when you can. You can also spray air freshener around the trash bin to distract the ants from the smell of the blood.
Unlike mosquitoes or leeches, most ants are not particularly blood-thirsty. The types of ants that are most interested in blood are — of course — carnivorous, aggressive ants. These ants will track down anything that smells like blood in the wild, as they need the protein.
Ants that prefer plants, like leaf-cutter ants, are not likely to go for blood in the wild as they prefer to live a vegetarian lifestyle.
Some people believe that ants are only attracted to the blood of those who are diabetic. This is not true at all, as the sugar levels in your blood do not make any difference to ants. Even sugar ants are far more likely to be attracted to your urine, not your blood, if you are a diabetic.
Ants are also unlikely to swarm you while you’re sleeping when you’re on your period. First of all, ants will usually only seek out blood if there are not any other accessible food sources in the house. They also have to be able to get to the blood, which is difficult for them to do if you’re covered in clothes and blankets.
That being said, be extra careful if you’re camping on your period, or taking a nap in the grass. Ants will find the source of the blood if they’re determined enough, and the last thing you want is ants in your pants.
Final Thoughts On Whether Ants Are Attracted To Blood
Ants, with their strength and apparent thirst for blood, are very interesting creatures that can be irritating to find in your house. Although not all ants are attracted to blood, the types of ants that infest people’s houses usually are — and they will put in great effort to access any type of blood for its rich sodium content.
Sanitary napkins should be well-wrapped with toilet paper, and placed into a trash can with a lid. Cleanliness and chemical smells are sure to ward off ants, so don’t be afraid to use an ant spray or air freshener if you have any.
Even if there aren’t any coffee creamer stains on the kitchen counter, or boxes of sugary cereal left out where the ants can get to it, make sure to be careful. If you get a nosebleed or a bad papercut and throw the tissue or paper towel into the trash, the ants might just come out of hiding. Read our other ant guides!