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Can I still eat food with ants on?​


This brief article will answer the question,” Can I still eat food with ants on?” We will also discuss why ants are on your food, whether they can make you ill if you eat them by mistake, or whether they carry diseases.

Let’s get started!

Can I still eat food with ants on?

So you have found ants marching through your kitchen and all over your food, eating food. These insects need dealing with quickly; you must act fast. Do not panic; you need to know how to get rid of ants in the food.

Do ants carry diseases?

Have you seen ants crawling over all sorts of nasties inside and outside? They can pick up bacteria and germs as they travel. Although they don’t have any disease-causing germs, they can still carry fungal organisms’ germs and diseases, so ants contaminate food, surfaces, and utensils.

They could be carrying Salmonella; it is even more likely if they have had access and infested your garbage can or bathroom.

However, there have not been any reports about a person getting sick from eating food ants have had a munch. For peace of mind, throwing away anything with crawling ants is best.

Here are some diseases ants contaminate food with:






E. coli

Can you die from eating ants?

If you accidentally eat ants in your food, you will not die. They are not poisonous. There have not been any reports about people dying or getting sick from eating ants.

If you accidentally consume Sugar ants, your body will kill them as they pass through your digestive system.

Are Sugar ants dangerous?

No, they are not harmful. A Sugar ant can sting/ bite, but you would not even notice a bite due to its size. 1% of the population is allergic to Sugar ants and may need some medication from a healthcare provider if they suffer symptoms of an allergic reaction.

What type of ants is eating my food?

If you discover a swarm of ants has infested your food, don’t worry. Chances are, they are harmless sugar ants. They do not sting/ bite or cause harm; they just are attracted to something sweet to eat.

A sugar ant (Camponotus Consobrinus) has a black head, a brown middle, and a black abdomen. They inhabit woodlands, forests, and cities. You have probably guessed from their name that sugar ants are attracted to sugar. They are primarily active during summer.

Why are there sugar ants in my food?

Several types of ants will invade your home. It could be odorous house ants, Pharaoh ants, or Red ants. The most common species found in people’s homes is Sugar ants.

Sugar ants are tiny and not a harmful species of ant. Due to their size, they can easily sneak into your kitchen and leave a trail to signal other ants’ that lunch is ready. Knowing what attracts them to your home, you can take steps to prevent them from infesting your home and feeding on your food.

Sugar ants are constantly searching for food. They will feed on any food items left out. If you leave food out, you provide a picnic table for them. A Sugar ant is attracted to sugary foods like bread, sweets, pet foods, greasy foods, and moisture. To prevent ants and other pests, you must be conscientious when putting food away and wiping surfaces quickly.

Please do not leave water in your kitchen or bathroom and fix any dripping faucets. The moisture on damp towels will attract ants, so hang them up to dry.

Can I eat food that ants have been on?

You can eat food ants have been on. Sugar ants have antimicrobial agents that make it safe to eat food ants have been on. A sugar ant is sterile. However, they can pass on foodborne illnesses and spread Salmonella, for instance, if contaminated.

Generally, food left out for any time should be thrown away. We know it is a waste of money. However, if unrefrigerated, it could cause food poisoning.

How to stop Sugar ants from eating your food

If you have an ant infestation invading your home, you may be wondering how to stop them from eating your food. If you follow measures, you can prevent ants from spreading foodborne illnesses.

To keep ants out, follow these recommendations:


  • Keep food items in airtight containers.

  • Always wash dishes straight away.

  • Wipe up food and crumbs from counter tops.

  • If you have finished with the food you will not consume, put it away in sealed containers.

  • Clean up spills immediately.

  • Remove any moisture.

  • Throw away food your pet has not eaten and wash the bowls.

How to store food safely

Following the measures above, you need to change how you store food items in the kitchen to prevent ants from infesting your home.

Here are some ideas you can take to prevent ant infestations:

To store bread and other dry goods, keep them in plastic containers to prevent ants from picking up their scent. Ensure the lid is a tight fit to keep the ants out. Store fruit in the fridge rather than in bowls on the counter.

Rinse out soda cans before throwing them away. Clean the bottles of sweet foods like honey and syrup. Empty sugar into a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

Suppose a sugary drink gets spilled clean spills immediately. Within minutes ants will discover the residue, and it will become a food source.

Home remedies to repel or kill ants in the home

There are a few natural ways to get rid of ants without harsh chemicals. Listed below are a few home remedies.

Cinnamon sticks can be placed inside your sugar storage box near other sugary foods, and ground Cinnamon can be sprinkled around the kitchen to repel ants.

Ants also dislike Chili pepper, or Cayenne Pepper sprinkled either ground up in areas of an ant infestation.

Essential oils help repel ants, particularly Tea tree oil and Peppermint oil. Place a few drops on a cotton ball and leave them in areas you have seen the ants.

These pests do not like the smell of Vinegar; if you clean with White Vinegar, it will repel ants. Mix together equal parts of vinegar with water and use it to clean all your surfaces and floors.

Ant baits

Ant bait works well, killing the entire colony.

You can buy baits online or make your own by mixing three parts of powdered sugar with one part of Boric acid. The sugar attracts the ants to the food source bait, and the Boric acid will kill them.

Leave some of the mixes in lids around the kitchen; the ants will take it back to their colony, killing the queen and the other inhabitants.

Why not step on ants?

Your first reaction when you see an ant is to step on it; please do not!

Ants use pheromones to communicate with their fellow colony members. The pheromones are left as a trail for others to follow when they find something to eat.

When a colony member dies, it releases pheromones as a warning of danger; other ants will come and investigate the body. So killing them attracts more ants to your home. It is better to use repellents rather than stepping on them.

And finally,

In the article, “Can I still eat food with ants?” We presented a few DIY ways of fighting ants on your food, but if you do not think you can fight these insects, then call a professional pest control company for a free estimate to get rid of them; please do not leave it for too long. Ants can get out of the hand very quickly.

Good luck!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

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