Do Ants Keep Ticks Away?
Whether or not ants keep ticks away has yet to be fully verified. However, a recent study in Texas suggests that ants are responsible for driving small mammals out of the way to make room for more ticks.
Ants are a staple of the South American rainforest. They are a natural predator of worms, insects and small mammals. They are able to invade new lands accidentally or intentionally. They are known to attack humans with their mouth parts, grabbing them in the process. They are also known to spray formic acid to mark trails.
A recent study in Texas, however, found that ants do not do much to keep ticks away. The study did find that the presence of ants did affect the numbers of ticks. The study involved two geographical sites in two different counties.
The researchers recorded the number of ants attracted to a bait to measure the ant population. They also measured the amount of litter cover in the area. The litter-covered area was found to be correlated to the abundance of ticks.
The study also analyzed ants’ trail pheromone, a substance that is believed to be a good indicator of the number of ants present. The authors of the study paired each site with a control site.
The study also looked at ants’ response to formic acid. Ants in the study were found to release formic acid as a reaction to a bug that had been attacked.