Written by

David Floyd

David Floyd

Reviewed by

Brett Ehlert

Brett Ehlert

How Long Can Ants Live Without Food?

Household ants can be troublesome as they are skilled at finding sources of food and water. This is why it’s common to see lines of ants entering and exiting homes. Despite their resourcefulness, have you ever wondered how long ants can survive without food?

How Long Can An Ant Live Without Food?

How long an ant can survive without food depends heavily on the species of ant you’re referring to. Most ants can survive for 1-3 weeks without food, but there are some species of ants which can survive up to a year without food!

How Long Can Ants Live Without Food

Red harvester ants are known for the scavenging abilities and there are reports that they can survive close to a year without food!

Because of their unique scavenging ability and their ability to sense sugar, this makes using borax and sugar traps for ants very effective!

Why Can Some Ants Live Longer Without Food Than Others?

Some species of ants can survive longer without food than other species of ants, and this all comes down to their physical anatomy!

Most ants can live for 1-3 weeks without food, but ants like the red harvester can survive for longer all because of the size of their stomach!

ants with food

Red harvester ants have larger stomachs than other species of ants which means they can hold enough food in their stomachs and don’t have to feed as often as other species.

Along with this, different species of ants digest their food in different manners and some are more efficient than others. The red harvester ant has extremely efficient when digesting its food, and it digests nearly every nutrient out of their food, while others ants aren’t quite as efficient. This relies on their ability to circulate hemolymphs and digest their food, learn more about how an ant’s heart works.

Along with this, every species of ant has a different lifespan which can also effect their ability to survive with out food. Check out our guide on ants lifespans!

How Long Can Ants Live Without Food While Hibernating?

Many species of ants hibernate during the colder months, and their bodies essentially shutdown and focus only on functions that keep them alive. This allows their bodies to have a lower need for food and water while in hibernation.

ants hibernating

Most ants can survive for 1-3 months without food while hibernating because they don’t move and are using less resources for survival. This allows them to sleep for months on end without having to wake up and eat!

How Long Can A Queen Ant Survive Without Food?

The queen ant is the most important ant in the colony, so food is prioritized towards the queen. Generally the queen will die after 7-10 days of no food intake, but this generally doesn’t happen because food allocation is given to the queen before the rest of the ants.

How Long Can Ants Live Without Water?

Although ants can survive for a week or two without food, water is a much more necessary resource. Most ants can only live for 3-7 days without water.

Final Thoughts On Ants Living Without Food

Although ants are known as survivalists and their abilities to find food no matter where they are, food is of massive importance to ants and they generally will die after 1-3 weeks without food.

If you’re dealing with ant infestation in and around your home then you should check out our guide on pet safe ant killers!

Overall I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on how long can ants live without food, and it’s helped to give you some insights on ants in general and how they behave!

Resources:

https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.2307/1535614

https://counties.agrilife.org/galveston/files/2012/03/Red-Harvester-Ants-Publ.-E-4021.pdf

David Floyd:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. David is Quality Pro certified and is a certified Structural Pest Control Operator in the state of North Carolina, and the owner of NCPestControlExperts pest control company.

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