Can You Smell Ants?
Whether you can smell ants or not is a controversial topic. Most people do not bother to sniff them, while others are genetically predisposed to detect the scent.
Most ants emit a specific smell when they are dying or are threatened. In the case of certain species, the scent is a pheromone. Its purpose is to alert the other ants of danger. This scent is also used to signal the quality of a food source.
Some ants can detect the presence of a chemical called formic acid. The molecule is a major component of ant venom. If you are a carpenter ant, you can spray it on your predators. But too much exposure can hurt your skin.
The ability to smell formic acid may be genetic. Other ants, such as trap-jaw ants, release a chocolate-like smell to warn other ants of danger.
In general, most insects have less than a dozen smell receptors. However, some, like fruit flies, have as many as 61.
The ability to smell ants is a useful skill for some. It allows you to identify the type of ant in a colony. It also helps homeowners eradicate pests.
A TikTok user recently sparked a debate on whether or not you can smell ants. In a video posted to a popular video sharing site, the user asked whether or not others could smell dead ants. She was surprised to find out that not everyone could.
She posted a follow-up video to explain her findings. The video went viral. In addition to sparking a debate on ant smell, it also educated the public on the insect.