How Do Ants Always Know Where the Crumbs Are?

Ants are one of the worst nuisance pests you can have in your home.


Because there’s always too many to count when an infestation occurs.

But the real questions is: “Why is it that ants always find crumbs and spills before you do?”

Colonies Send a Scout Team to Look for Food

Ants don’t always just happen to stumble upon food crumbs by being at the right place at the right time — they’re a lot smarter than that!

A colony of ants will send a team of scout ants to go out and look for food to bring back to the rest of the colony. These scouts will oftentimes enter your home via cracks and gaps in your home’s envelope (AKA window and door frames, wall seams, foundation gaps, etc.).

Scout Ants Have a Great Sense of Smell

Scout ants have antennal lobes (with hundreds of nerve endings called glomeruli) that allow them to smell all types of odors from far distances. While they’re on their search they will map out their routes and what they smell based on visual landmarks to create an odor map.

When these scout ants finally find your crumbs and food scraps, they will take a sample and bring it back to the colony. Once the colony approves of the food source, the scout team will find the shortest route from the colony to the food source, leaving behind a pheromone trail for the rest of the colony to follow.

What happens next is you walking into the room to discover a mountain of ants covering a pile of crumbs or a food scrap that you never noticed before.

What Can You Do to Prevent Ants From Coming Into Your Home?

Ants have an intricate system that allows them to efficiently find food sources and alert the rest of the troops of its location. These ants are starting to sound smarter than us humans…

But not quite! You can easily prevent ants from invading your home by following a few quick prevention steps:

  • ALWAYS eat over a plate, as well as limiting your eating areas to just the kitchen and the dining room.
  • Clean up spills and crumbs as soon as you notice them. Saying “I’ll clean them in a minute” could cause you to forget about the mess.
  • Sweep the kitchen and dining rooms floors after every meal (or at least the areas where you ate and prepared the food).
  • Vacuum carpets on a weekly basis.
  • Seal the envelope of your home using the appropriate weatherstripping, caulk, and replacing any damaged areas that create gaps or cracks.

It seems like the minute you notice a spill or a pile of crumbs on the floor, there are ants nearby already feeding on it. Know that ants are very advanced when it comes to finding food, so you need to set preventative measures to keep them from taking over your home.

If your home develops an ant problem, know that we can take care of it for you without a problem!

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