What kinds of food do you like to eat? You may love spaghetti or grilled cheese, but chances are you have a soft spot for sweets. It turns out, ants love sugary treats too! With this experiment, we can learn where hungry ants keeps their food!
What you need:
- Food coloring
- Magnifying glass
- Eye dropper
What you do:
First, mix the sugar and water together to make sugar water. Pour the water into multiple bowls, how many you need is dependent on how many colors you would like to make.
Next, add the food coloring to the bowls to create your colors.
Find a spot on the concrete outside, ideally next to an ant hill or flower bed. Use the eyedropper to drop a little puddle of each color on the sidewalk by the ant hill or flower bed. Wait.
You may want to leave and come back after fifteen minutes or so. By then, ants should have gathered around the sugar water. If not, wait some more and return.
Once the ants gather around the sugar water, observe what happens.
Questions to consider:
- What happens to the ants as they drink the sugar water?
- Why does this happen?
- What color do the ants like the best?
Why it works:
There are three main parts to an ant’s body: the head, thorax, and abdomen. The abdomen is what you noticed changed colors!
Ants have a nose for sugary foods. While they do not exclusively eat sweets, they do use them for energy. They particularly like sharing sweets foods with the rest of their friends back in their anthill. When they find a sugary liquid, like our sugar water, they’ll suck it up into their abdomen, bring it back to the anthill, and share it with their colony.
By sucking up the colorful sugar water, the color you used fills the abdomen, changing the color of the ant’s abdomen.