How Do Ants Know If Other Ants Die?
Unlike humans, ants do not mourn other ants’ deaths. They do not even carry anything to commemorate their departed comrades. They do, however, have a fairly sophisticated sense of smell.
Among the things that they do know are when they’re about to die. Ants leave the nest when it seems like they are going to die, as a way to reduce the chances of infection spreading to other hive members.
Ants also know how to dispose of dead comrades. In the wild, they take the dead to a midden, a structure where they leave waste.
The ants also release a small chemical called oleic acid, which makes the ant corpse smell like rotten meat. Ants also release pheromones, a chemical that sends other ants in search of help.
They also have a sense of humor. One study found that some ants will actually carry the dead to the midden, as long as they are not too close to it. They then recycle the dead ant into nutrients.
Unlike humans, ants do not have the ability to wear protective equipment, so ants must make do with the least amount of protection possible. They are also omnivores, meaning that they eat a variety of fruits and insects.
They are also highly sophisticated animals. As such, they have the oleom (the scent of rotten ants) and the pheromone (a chemical that sends other ants in a search for help).
The ant-named oleom may be the most important thing ants know about death. It’s a small chemical that sends other ants in search for help.