The Preference of Common Ant Species to Natural and Artificial Sugars Found in Beverages


  • Mary E Brown Texas A&M University
  • Fleix Bui Texas A&M University
  • Mohan Iyengar Texas A&M University
  • Alejandra Rivera Texas A&M University
  • Elizabeth Seaver Texas A&M University
  • Abdullah Siddiqi Texas A&M University
  • Eleanor Simpson Texas A&M University
  • Amanda Stuart Texas A&M University


ant, sugar, Bryan/College Station, red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta)


Abstract: The species selected to be surveyed are the common pest ants of non-forested areas in Texas: Solenopsis invictaCamponotus sp.Atta texanusTapinoma sessileTapinoma melanocephalum, Solenopsis molesta, Dorymyrmex sp., Monomorium pharaonis, Prenolepis imparis, Paratrechina longicornis, Labidus coecus, Crematogaster sp., Pogonomyrmex barbatus, Tetramorium bicarinatum, Pheidole dentata. Ant affinity for five different liquids containing different sugars was tested: water, sugar water (sucrose), Stevia (aspartame), apple juice (fructose), and Coca-Cola (high fructose corn syrup, glucose, manufactured fructose). Traps were set in five different, non-forest locations in Bryan/College Station, Texas to determine to which types of sugars the ants most gravitated. Based on previous experiments and conclusions, it was hypothesized that ants had adapted to equally favor all varieties of sugar found in conventional beverages. The variety of ants that were trapped in experimentation were: red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta), carpenter ants (Camponotus vicinus), thief ants (Solenopsis molesta), pharaoh ants (Monomorium pharaonis), acrobat ants (Crematogaster sp.), and ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum). Not all ant species that were planned to be surveyed were collected. From the ants obtained, it was determined which liquid tested for was most frequented, and by which types of ants. A conclusion was made that ants do have a preference in sugar type, which contradicted the original hypothesis of the researchers. 



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