Many times it happens when something black has been spoiled by ants like black tea leaves and it's nearly impossible to separate them. By some suggestions I even tried to spread tea leaves in a sheet and keep them under the sun, but no matter how hard I try some of them are always dead and get mixed with the tea leaves and then are invisible to naked eye.

How can I separate them all without spoiling the ingredient?

  • 1
    Throw it away. The ingredient is already spoiled (by your definition), so it's a trick question.
    – ssaltman
    Nov 17, 2015 at 22:33

4 Answers 4


Granular Convection.

If the ants are a different size to the particles of whatever the foodstuff is, then gently shaking the mixture in a container will cause the biggest objects to rise to the surface.

Simply seperate the mixture then at the points where the ants stop appearing.

  • shaking may kill already present ants....
    – wrangler
    Dec 19, 2015 at 12:22

You could get a sieve with holes large enough for the ants to fall but the leaves (or whatever) to stay put. Place leaves in the sieve and shake around a few times for the ants to fall through the holes but the leaves (or whatever) remains in the sieve and then you can tip the leaves in to a clean container and repeat the process.


Ants tend to ditch chaotic instances. Assuming that the ants are alive, gently shake the ingredients in an open container and leave it in the open. They will panic and leave. Repeat the same a couple of times to make sure you problem is ant-free.

  • Have a problem with dead ants though......as keeping in the sun also make leave the live ants but not the dead ones.
    – wrangler
    Dec 19, 2015 at 12:23

I think that using "bait" for the ants is also good. Scraps of food can usually fool them away.

  • Do you know of any specific foods that would work well for leading the ants away? Also, I don't think that this is the most reliable method. What if the ants are dead?
    – michaelpri
    Nov 26, 2015 at 2:00
  • @michaelpri Maple sirop works very well
    – Elie G.
    Jan 23, 2019 at 6:48

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