eli5 – How do ants know where there is sugar?


How do ants know I’ve dropped a piece of candy in my room and gather their squad to eat it when there were no signs of ants previously? Do they smell that there’s sugar? Even so, how? The world seems so huge to them to know where to scout

In: 232

They send out scout ants, who search randomly. When they find something good, they return to the nest leaving a pheromone trail. There other ants that are leaving the nest out randomly searching follow the trail and strengthen it with their own trail. That’s how you end up with long trains of ants recovering food.

The initial search is random though. There are just a lot of ants, and you tend not to spot them moving around individuality

Ants scout, dropping faint pheromone (behavior-controlling odor) tracks so they can find their way home again. You probably just don’t notice the occasional scout in your room.

When a scout finds something good, it hightails it back to the hive while dropping a strong pheromone track, telling other ants “this way to the food!”

As long as there’s any food remaining, other ants will keep reinforcing the track. When there’s no food left, disappointed ants will return without reinforcing the track, until it vanishes.

They use their antennae to detect the sugar. And they taste to confirm if it’s sweet or not

Do ants have a memory of toxic food?

For example, i gave those parasites some poisonous gel. At first they ate it but when i gave them more few days later, they tend to ignore it.