Artificial Sweeteners Versus Cane Sugar - Which Do Ants Prefer?

Middle School and High School Zoology Science Fair Project
Photo © 2008 Steven Depolo, Flickr

To test whether ants prefer natural cane sugar versus artificial sweeteners, Bob Bonnet and Dan Keen of suggest setting out several samples - table sugar, brown sugar, Sweet N Low (saccharin), and Equal (aspartame) - by an anthill and make observations.

Extensions & Alternatives

  • For a more complete project, we suggest adding in Dextrose (glucose), NutraSweet (neotame), and Splenda (sucralose).
  • You might also consider exploring the health ramifications of artificial sweeteners versus natural cane sugar. One seventh grader masked aspartame with honey and water to see if the artificial sweetener had any effect on behavior and lifespan of an ant colony! Click here to see a brief discussion of the the project and, perhaps, get a little inspiration for your own experiment!