Why Can I Smell Ants?

Having an enhanced olfactory system does not make you immune to strong odors. It simply makes you more sensitive. You cannot ignore a strong smell, even if you are not in danger.

A recent viral video sparked a debate about whether or not people can smell ants. The video, which was posted on the video sharing website TikTok, asked people whether or not they could smell dead ants on the sidewalk. Some people said they couldn’t, while others said they could. After the video went viral, many people realized that they did not understand what the creator was saying.

According to a study, some species of ants release pungent smells when they are in danger. Carpenter ants, for instance, spray formic acid when they’re threatened. They also release alarm pheromones to warn other ants.

Some species of ants also release pheromones to identify themselves and leave scent trails for food sources. They may also have an anti-microbial component to their scent. These chemicals are used to keep the ant clean.

There are also species of ants that do not produce a smell. This is a result of genetics. For instance, some people have a predisposition to be able to smell formic acid. They may not be able to smell oleic acid, which is what odorous house ants smell like.

Another study revealed that the ants’ scent is actually made up of a chemical called methyl ketones. These compounds are produced by a bacteria called Penicillium.