Insects & Agriculture (Part II)

Domesticated animals are not new to anyone. We consume eggs produced from various birds and make products from the milk of cows, goats, sheep, and even camels. But just like how we weren’t the first to start growing crops, we weren’t the first ones to domesticate other organisms.

Ants require different categories of food, much like humans. They mainly require sugars as food, giving their larva protein from other insects or animals. However, there are limited numbers of sugar-sources. These include nectar from flowers, fruits, and seeds and they aren’t easy to secure.

Bees, flies, and even other ants make obtaining these basic resources difficult. To satisfy their needs, some ant species care for aphids–small insects that consume the leaves of plants. When aphids consume leaves, they ingest excess amounts of water. This water is pushed out of the aphids body and is known as honeydew. Due to having a high concentration of sugar, the honeydew is then distributed throughout the colony as energy.