Have you ever seen a banana covered in ants? I have seen it, and it was quite an unusual sight. I have often left bananas on my kitchen countertop overnight and never had ants or other pests attack the fruits.
But a few days back, I found ants all over my countertop, and on close observation, I found that the origin of this ant attack was an overripe banana.
The banana cracked out of its skin, and the ants had found their way into the flesh. It made me ask some questions about ants eating bananas, and I have learned about the below.
Ants are opportunistic feeders and will eat bananas especially when there is a lack of other sources of food. Additionally, the soft texture and sweet content of ripe bananas will attract droves of ants seeking out their next meal.
Why do ants like to eat bananas?
A banana is a sweet fruit that naturally attracts insects like ants, and ants are attracted to sweet foods, however, bananas in the raw form have low sugar content.
But when bananas become ripe, a single banana has fifteen grams of natural sugar and it is this sugar content that is attractive to ants.
Moreover, bananas are pretty fleshy, which makes the fruit easy for the mandibles of the ants to penetrate.
They can also bite off the flesh of a banana and carry it to their colony. They do so mostly in groups with a couple of back and forth trips.
Why are ants attracted to bananas?
Bananas and fruits like nectarines attract insects that produce formic acid. If you leave a ripe banana in the open for a few minutes, you will find that it is covered in ants.
The sugar content and the flesh of the banana help the insects to build formic acid. This is why ants are attracted to bananas.
But if the peel of the banana is intact then the ants will avoid the fruit since piercing through the peel can be quite bitter.
However, if the fruit is ripe and breaks open then you will find that the insect enters the banana from the crack.
Do ants eat banana peel?
Ants don’t eat banana peels regularly because they can sometimes be unsavory due to their bitterness. However, if you do see ants on a banana peel, then they’re trying to scavenge bits of the remaining banana flesh before it gets mildew.
If you enjoy composting, use kitchen scraps like vegetable peels, kitchen scraps, and banana peels and convert these into compost.
But to prevent pests and insects from attacking your compost pile, you should use a covered compost bin and place it far from your home.
You will typically not find ants eating the banana peels in the compost, but if there are any sweet items in the compost or vegetable scraps, then ants can get attracted to the compost.
Likewise, ants can discover and eat banana peels while eating vegetable scraps. But, these insects do not eat banana peels exclusively.
Do ants eat raw bananas?
Ants love to eat ripe bananas but they will avoid raw bananas. These insects do not like the bitter taste of raw bananas.
You will find that when ants attack the banana plant, the insect will avoid the raw fruit. However, when the fruit ripens, the insect will consume the flesh.
The primary reason is that most garden ants cannot penetrate the skin of the raw banana.
Nevertheless, the flesh becomes easily accessible when the banana ripens, and the ants can quickly eat it.
Do ants nest near banana plantations?
This is also a common problem faced by farmers who grow bananas.
You will find that ants often build nests near banana plantations because of the proximity of food.
Bananas are an excellent source of food for ants. If they build a nest near a plantation, they can carry the food easily to the nest.
You will find that they carry the bananas to their nest and leave it in their outdoor colony.
Are ants found on banana trees?
Ants crawling over banana trees are a common sight. This is because banana plants grow on soils that are moist and rich in minerals.
These soils are usually the breeding grounds for ants. For example, on the website https://www.plantationsolutions.com/answer/ants-affecting-banana-quality-and-ease-of-harvest/, the ants feed on the sap of the banana plant.
But it is the weaker plants that get affected by the ants. So you will find that as a result of the ant attack, the quality of the bananas produced by the plant will be diminished.
Why do ants attack banana trees?
The honeydew-like secretion released by banana trees often attracts ants.
Ants release formic acid, which they derive from plants that release honeydew.
The ants attack the banana trees to gather enough honeydew to produce the formic acid.
Ants feed on the sap of the banana tree. However, you will not find the insect feeding on the plant’s leaves. Instead, ants use their mandibles to suck the sap of the banana plant.
Is there any way to protect bananas from an ant attack?
If you have the habit of leaving ripe bananas on the kitchen countertop, you must take preventive measures to protect the fruit from an ant attack.
First, spray the area around the bananas with a mixture of liquid soap and water. For example, take one liter of water and mix two tbsps of liquid soap.
Next, you can spray the mixture around the bowl where you keep bananas, preventing the ants from reaching the fruit.
How can you make your home ant-free without killing them?
If you find ants attacking the fruits and other food items you keep in your home, you must take steps to make your home ant-free.
One of the easiest ways would be to hire pest control personnel to place preventive measures so that your home is ant-free.
Otherwise, you can use baking soda solution, boric salt, detergents, and other similar items to repel ants.
If you can identify the location from where the ants are coming, spray soap water solution in the vicinity to prevent the ants from entering your home.
Is there any way other than using soap and water to prevent ants from attacking bananas?
If you do not want to use soap or water, you can try keeping the bananas wrapped in cling film.
You can also take a brown paper bag and wrap the bananas. This will prevent the ants from gaining access to the fruit.
However, you must consider that it can further ripen the fruit. So, check the fruit’s condition first before placing these in the cling film or the brown paper bag.