Science project

What Do Ants Like Best: Artificial or Cane Sugars?

Research Questions:

  • What is artificial sweetener made of?
  • What is the composition of sugar? Where is it obtained?
  • Are there different types of sugar?

Ants like picnics, and, like humans, they're especially attracted to sweets. But can ants tell the difference between natural and artificial sweeteners? Why might they prefer one over the other? Let's find out.


  • Pure cane white sugar
  • Artificial Sweetener, such as Equal, Splenda, and Sweet N' Low
  • Common ants (you can find these outside on warm/hot days, but if you are doing the experiment in the winter, then obtain from a specialty breeding source)
  • A clear box with just a few holes on top

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Count the amount of ants you have obtained. This can be very tedious and difficult, so please be patient.
  2. In the clear box, put one pile of pure cane sugar on one side and one pile of artificial sweetener on the other. Be sure to leave enough space for the ants in the middle, at least a full hand's width to separate the sugars.
  3. Release the ants into the clear box and put the lid on to prevent them from coming out. Observe their behavior.
  4. After 30 minutes, count the number of ants in each pile. Again, this may be difficult, but hang in there!
  5. Repeat the above step in 30 minute increments for 3 hours and then overnight.
  6. Record your results in a chart. What have you noticed?

Terms/Concepts: Fructose; Sucrose; Lactose; Carbohydrates; Sugar; Sweetness; Ant behavior and diet


Disclaimer and Safety Precautions provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against that arise thereof. In addition, your access to's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items