Can Ants Drink Cow Milk?
During their early life, ants produce a milk-like fluid, called ant milk, similar to the molting fluids of other insects. The milk is dribbled out of the abdominal tip of an ant pupa and forms a spherical droplet.
This milk is consumed by all ages of ants. Ants are omnivores and can digest animal matter and plant matter, but they do not like to drink cow milk. Rather, they prefer a sweeter milk, like milk powder, or a sugar syrup.
Cow milk is high in lactose, a type of sugar. Lactose is difficult for ants to digest, so they can suffer from diarrhea and bloating after drinking it.
Ants also consume honeydew, a sugary substance excreted by aphids. Honeydew is a perfect meal for ants. But it also contains high amounts of sugar and other nutrients. These are the nutrients ants need to survive.
But because of the high content of lactose, milk is not a good choice for ants. Lactose will also stay in the ants’ digestive system, making it difficult for them to digest.
Milk is also high in protein. Ants need protein to survive, but too much protein can cause obesity and reduce lifespan. If ants get too much protein in their diet, they cannot produce new larvae.
Ant milk has not yet been proven to be the best beverage for ants. It is just one of many different ways ants obtain their nutrition. But it is also not a substitute for milk, which is a good source of protein.