Are Ants Attracted To Salt? (Everything You Need To Know!)

Let's be honest, ants are so annoying! They actively seek new territories when the weather gets warmer and mainly prefer the dark places with an ample supply of food and water__sounds precisely like your kitchen pantry, right? 

These opportunistic feeders eat just about anything they find in your house to stay alive! Ants are social insects, which means they invade homes in huge colonies. A single ant colony can have hundreds of thousands of ants! The sheer number makes it especially difficult to win a fight against ants. 

It's pretty common to see ants attracted to sugary foods like popsicles and candy, but are ants attracted to salt too? Short answer? Yes__ants have a preference for salty foods too! In fact, like humans, ants too need salt to maintain their muscle and nerve activities, a recent study finds. 

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Do Ants Like Salt? 

Whether ants are attracted to salt or not largely depends on the salt availability in their habitat. Generally, ants need both salt and sugar as part of their diet as the two compounds play a vital role in their bodily functions. 

If an ant colony lives in an area lacking salt, they will suffer a salt deficiency, making them more attracted to salty foods than sweet foods. 
Conversely, an ant colony that lives in salt abundant areas, for instance, closer to the sea, will be more attracted to sweet foods. 

Here's the disturbing part, ants don't solely get salt from foods and snacks; they can also collect an appropriate amount of salt by feeding on human blood, feces, urine, sweat, and even tears. 

Are Ants Attracted To Sodium? 

Sodium is a vital mineral required by ants and other organisms for normal nerve and muscle function. Salt is made up of almost 40% sodium. Ants are generally attracted to foods with salt because they need the sodium for survival. 

The degree to which ants are attracted to sodium also depends on its availability in their environment. For instance, if the insects have easy access to sodium or salty foods, they'd rather have sweet foods instead of salty ones. 

But ants living in places with a limited supply of items with sodium or salt like in mountains and high plains will suffer deficiencies, and they will indeed be attracted to sodium. 

Soil provides sodium in plants. But plants growing in such an environment will mostly have a low sodium content, meaning that even the organisms feeding upon them like ants will not get the required salt levels. Consequently, they will experience salt deficiencies in such a habitat, and the ants will be highly attracted to salty foods than sugary ones. 

Can You Use Salt To Get Rid Of Ants? 

There are many natural ways to get rid of ants from your home, for instance, using vinegar, but is salt an effective remedy? Surprisingly, you can use this handy condiment to kill and repel ants. 

While ants require salt to maintain proper bodily functions, the chemicals in salt are harmful enough to kill ants and other insects. Perhaps the first time salt was ever used to kill an insect was in 1937 when a story Salt V. Insect was published in Time Magazine. In the story, Dr. Vernon Raymond Haber kills Mexican bean beetles with a specific type of salt, Epsom salt. 

On a scientific level, there is some truth to the story. We know that salt has a high capacity to absorb water and vapor from its surroundings. So, scientists suggest that salt kills insects by wiping out the moisture in them. 

In addition, like other insects, ants breathe through the exoskeleton. Theoretically speaking, salt can penetrate the ants' exoskeleton and wreak havoc in their bodies; in the same way, it dehydrates snails to death. 
Suppose you've treated an open wound with salt before? Then you have an idea of how ants probably feel when you directly spray a salt solution on their bodies. They'd rather avoid it by all means. 

You can also consider treating all nooks and corners where ants frequent, like along walls, countertops, and walkways with salt. But please note that you'd need to use a lot of table salt that can sometimes corrode and tarnish treated surfaces. 

You can also consider treating all nooks and corners where ants frequent, like along walls, countertops, and walkways with salt. But please note that you'd need to use a lot of table salt that can sometimes corrode and tarnish treated surfaces. 

Circumstances When Ants Won't Eat Salt 

Although ants will sometimes actively forage for salt, this depends on the exact ant species and habitat. Whether ants are attracted to salt and if they'll eat it or not depends on their current needs. 

In a nutshell, ants will be in dire need of an ingredient if it is lacking in their habitat. This means that if salt is a readily available ingredient in their environment, the ants will opt for sugary foods. Like salt, sugar is a crucial part of ants' diet. It is an excellent source of calories, helping these ever-active insects function tirelessly without any need for breaks! 

Perhaps you have noticed ants get attracted more towards your sugary foods than the salty ones? That simply means that they are currently in desperate need of sugar than salt. But this is not to imply that they will always go for sugar over salt. No! Once the need for salt strikes, their preference for salt will be greater than that for sugar. 

Do Ants Prefer Epsom Salt Or Table Salt? 

There is a significant difference between Epson salt and Table salt. To begin with, Epson salt is mainly made of magnesium chloride and doesn't contain any sodium.  Sometimes it's also referred to as bath salt and is best used for soothing tired muscles and cosmetics like facials. 

Comparably, table salt is edible and is primarily made of sodium chloride. Sodium is a vital nutrient for animal and insect cell membrane functions. 

Some studies suggest that Epsom salt irritates and causes dehydration in insects. Epsom salt can give you some degree of effectiveness against ants, but table salt will likely give you better results in keeping ants away from your home. 

Conclusion

Are ants attracted to salt? It depends. Whether ants are attracted to salt depends on what's lacking in their habitat. If the ant colony is suffering salt deficiency or lives in a place with an inadequate salt supply, then the high chances are that they will be more attracted to salt than sugar and vice versa. 
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