Does Manuka Honey attract ants?
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Myth or Truth: Does Real Honey Attract Ants? How Can You Expose Fake Sugar Syrup?

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Ever had someone tell you that only fake honey attracts ants?

Let’s find out if there’s any truth to this statement. Read till the end for bonus tips!

Does Manuka Honey Attract Ants, Or Does Only Fake “Honey” (Sugar Syrup) Attract Ants?

There are many different theories on whether manuka honey attracts ants. Articles and reports have different stands on this.

Some state that real honey doesn’t attract ants – only fake “honey” that is actually sugary syrup attracts ants. By extension, some assumed that manuka honey that attracts ants are fakes. The truth is a lot more complicated.

We’ve done our research and conducted tests using different brands of honey, and the truth is that different manuka honey has different reactions from ants.

To substantiate our findings, we got some senior experienced New Zealand beekeepers to help.

Honey in the Wild Attracts Ants

Ants in the Wild Are Attracted to Nectar and Honey
Ants in the Wild Are Attracted to Nectar and Honey

In nature, wild bees’ honey does attract ants. Ants look for food, and these are food that humans would love to eat too. If we get down to the basics, ants are attracted to moisture. Any food that has higher moisture will attract ants.

Moisture is the reason why different types of honey and manuka honey experiences different reactions from ants.

Manuka Honey in a Humid Environment Attracts Ants

Any kind of honey exposed to air will eventually attract ants, especially in a humid environment like Singapore where moisture levels in the surroundings are high.

This makes the task of finding and confirming real manuka honey even more difficult. UMF5+ manuka honey 500g can be as expensive as $50, while a similar bottle of honey would cost less than $10; a bottle of fake sugar syrup would cost less than $2.

Imagine all the extra dishonest profit that a honey producer can make by introducing fake honey. Furthermore, there are so many different standards of methylglyoxal measurement in manuka honey, such as MGO, MG, Active, AMF, etc that serve only to confuse consumers and their hard-earned money.

Water Content in Honey

It’s true that sugary syrup attracts ants more than real honey as sugary syrup contains more moisture than honey.

There are some types of honey (especially honey from dishonest sellers or producers) that have water added to increase their weight.

Honey Attracts More Ants Than Some Other Foods
Honey Attracts More Ants Than Some Other Foods

Pure honey has a moisture content of less than 20%. High-quality manuka honey has even much lesser than that. However, any form of honey absorbs moisture from the air, making the outer layer of the pure honey to be diluted.

This, therefore, attracts ants eventually. (Side note: Manuka honey attracts moisture, which is why it’s such a terrific skincare product as it draws moisture to the skin that is applied on.)

Can Ants Smell Honey?

Here’s another popular question: can ants actually smell honey?

Ants have 4 to 5 times more odour receptors on their antennae than the majority of other insects. This remarkable sense of smell helps them find food, which means that yes, ants do smell honey.

They’re especially fond of honey due to the sugar content, and they use their ability to detect chemical substances using their olfactory receptors.

How to Conduct an Ant Test for Pure Manuka Honey

Curious about how you can test whether ants are really attracted to pure manuka honey?

That’s simple – place some honey on a plate without covering it or hindering its path with liquid substances. Return a few hours later and you’ll notice that ants have started to gather around the honey.

How to Keep Ants Away From Honey

Now that you’ve understood why all types of honey attract ants, how can you keep the ants away from your precious liquid gold?

Here are some methods to use:

  • Keep your tub of honey’s lid tightly closed all the time
  • Wipe down the tub and all surfaces after each use
  • Make a honey decoy trap by using a plate of sugar water to attract the ants instead
  • Fill a plate with water and place your honey tub in the middle. Ants cannot move through the water
  • Store your honey in a plastic or glass container at room temperature away from sunlight

Can You Use Cinnamon as a Natural Method to Repel Ants?

cinnamon sticks and powder can repel ants
Cinnamon Sticks and Powder Can Repel Ants

There are many proponents who claim that cinnamon can be used as a natural way to keep ants away from your honey.

Sprinkling cinnamon powder from the supermarket isn’t going to have the same efficacy as the chemical compounds in highly concentrated essential oils, but it may help in deterring some ants if you place it strategically.

Hence, you can use cinnamon to prevent ants from going near your honey.

Remember to stick to the New Zealand Government’s standard of UMF-graded honey where every batch is lab-tested and certified before being sealed and sold to authorised dealers such as HoneyCity’s Manuka Honey.

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