Can You Eat Ants Alive? {Will You Get Sick?}

Is someone offering you ants for a snack? Have you seen pictures or videos of insects sold in markets as food?

Have you accidentally eaten an ant alive? Are you wondering, “Can You Eat Ants Alive?”

Are ants safe to eat? In this article, we’ll find out what happens if you eat ants alive.

Can You Eat Ants Alive?

Yes. Nothing will happen to you. Ants are safe for consumption. You would be better served to cook the ants or eat them after they are dried out to refrain from consuming any bacteria that still exists in their gut on on their exoskeleton.

Nevertheless, you should be at risk of getting ill if you eat ants alive. They will suffocate, get stuck and not have any chance to move in your body.

What Happens if You Eat Live Ants?

It is highly unlikely that anything will happen to you if you eat live ants. Ants provide a healthy level of antioxidants that have served indigenous communities nutritionally around the world for centuries.

The ant is going to die in your body immediately from suffocation. The inside of a human’s throat, esophagus and stomach is too acidic or sticky for an ant to move or do anything.

The ant will die and will provide nourishment to you. Ants that are alive may carry pathogens, fungus or other types of bacteria on their body. This is why most indigenous cultures boil or cook the ants before consuming them.

Is Eating Ants Good for You?

There is significant research to report and indicate for anyone that is curious that ants are nutritious. The body of an ant contains large levels of antioxidants that are attributed to cancer prevention.

A significant amount of ants can contribute to your daily protein intake. It is highly unlikely that members of first world nations, where grocery stores carry an abundance of protein rich food, would resort to eating ants regularly.

Indigenous cultures do not report high instances of cancer. By eating from nutritious and naturally obtained food sources including ants, they are able to maintain a lean and healthy diet that keeps cancer at bay.

Is It Safe to Eat Ants?

Ants are generally safe to eat. You can group ants as part of a large section of animal products that are safe for human consumption. This doesn’t mean that ants are a popular source of nutrition for most of the developed world.

They are a delicacy and have been used in regular cooking methods for many indigenous cultures. It is common to perform health in sanitary procedures including washing and heating the ants before they are consumed.

However, there are many cases where individuals like in the video below, have no problem consuming ants alive in their natural form.

[youtube v=”9cKwUnZ1ZVc”]

What Do Ants Taste Like?

I would like to first and foremost say that I have never consumed ants. That is not to say that I would never consume one if I was offered.

We are told that ants may taste a little sour or citrusy. This is because they secrete formic acid from their abdomen. This formic acid helps them clean their bodies from pathogens or fungal infections that they may carry with them on their daily journeys.

The formic acid itself is not dangerous for human consumption in small amounts, however it does taste bitter or sour in many people’s perspectives or personal opinions.

What Will Happen if a Human Eats a Live Ant?

When you eat a live ant,  it will not die immediately unless you begin to crush it with your teeth. If you swallow the ant whole, it will experience a slide through mucus.

If the ant is still alive and not dead yet from your stomach acids, it may attempt to climb up. There will be no hope for this ant because of the stickiness inside your body. The ant was suffocate.

Nothing will happen to your body. Ants are safe for human consumption. Eating an ant alive also means that you are consuming its gut bacteria or any pathogens and parasites that may exist within or on its exoskeleton.

It’s best to dry out, boil, or cook ants before trying to consume them.

How Are Ants Prepared?

Ants can be eaten raw in their adult form or as larvae. It’s much safer and we’re told that it’s tastier to eat cooked ants. This way, you can heat and kill any bacteria on their bodies or in their guts. You can also add flavors and spices.

The larvae and eggs are considered to be more valued and preferred as a food source. You can prepare ants in the following ways:

  • Add to fish soups or chicken stock. 
  • Purchase them fermented in cans or jars. 
  • Eat them crunchy and fried.
  • Mix ants with cassava flour and roast them. 
  • Add ants to sauces that are peppery or spicy. 
  • Create chutney or curry with them. 

This act of deliberately eating ants will accompany your travel experiences to developing nations that participate in cooking insects. They will invite you to try it and you should try to not decline.

If you are looking to cook ants yourself, good luck and let us know how it turned out!


The next time you accidentally consume an ant while eating, do not worry. The ant will die and you will not be harmed. If you are offered ants as a delicacy, it’s best if they are cooked first.

Ants carry pathogens or bacteria on their bodies. They can effectively clean this off their exoskeleton with formic acid that they secrete from their abdomens.

This formic acid will taste bitter or sour when you eat it. If you have ever eaten an ant deliberately, let us know about your experience!


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Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable