Do Ants Eat Their Dead?

Ants are very interesting creatures and we are only growing to learn more and mroe about them, one of their unique behaviour traits come to when there is a death of a fellow ant, and that is what we will be discussing at length in this very article, first things first, let’s start off by answering the main crux of today’s topic “Do Ants Eat Their Dead?”

No, ants do not eat their dead, but they do come to take their dead body if at all possible, this is basically due to the phermones that the dead fellow releases when it dies.

A picture to better elaborate "Do Ants Eat Their Dead?"

The other fellow ants come to check if there is any danger in the vicinity of the area where there fellow died and after seeing the area, they go on to carry their dead partner on their back and then head back to the outskirts of their colony (middens: this is where they dump their trash and their dead folks), and this is where they place their dead fellows.

The two main reasons of this behaviour from an evolutionary stand point are

  • To see if there is still a threat for the ants that might endanger them
  • putting the dead ants in the outskirt to prevent any kinds of disease that may come with the dead ants within the colonies.

Ants are super careful about their hugiene as living the way they do, catching a disease or an infection could mean an end for the whole colony

Why Do Ants Pick Up Dead Ants?

Ants pick up their dead fellows to lessen the risk of contaminatino and infection that might come due to the dead ant laying there. As we mentioned before staying clean and hygienic a survival instinct for ants, so they cannot let a dead ant rot nearby. This is the reason why they pick their dead fellow and take it to the midden (the dumpster of the ant’ world, near the outskirts of the colony)

A Video Of Ants picking up dead ants

Do Ants Avoid Dead Ants?

No, not usually atleast, ants only avoid their dead brethren in case there is a significant danger that still poses itself, as we discussed above in normal cirumstances the ants will carry their dead mate to the midden where they will put it to rest in piece and let it decompose

After the dead ants have been taken to the midden, Ants will then go on to avoid them and only specific ants that have the duty of taking care of the midden will roam around the area. This as we discussed above is to stay clear of getting any infections within the colony

An interesting fact to know about the ants that take on the job of the garbage collectors is that after they take on the duties of the garbage collectors, they will then never interact with the the normal food of the colony or the queen for the sake of preventing diseases from passing on which they might have contracted whilst doing their jobs

What Chemical Do Ants Release At Death

At death ants release phermones, these are basically chemicasls that send the signal to other ants. This is something that is common in other ants and is also found in animals like cats and dogs. But whilst talking about phermones in ants, these phermones are fatty acids

These phermones are released from their excreting bodily fluids at death but this is something that the studies are not yet conclusive about

Death Of The Queen Ant

The queen ants are without a doubt the most important member of an ant colony, so what happens when it dies is a question that often pops up out of curiosity.

The corpse of the queen ant is treated merely the same way as any other’s from the ant’ colony, it is taken to the midden. It is often the case that after the death of the queen ant the colony will eventually start dying till no member of the colony is left. However, there are some colonies of ants that go on to be adopted by other ant’ colonies after their queen dies and they have no other queen

Why Does Peppermint Oil Help In Repelling Ants?

The significant chemical compound found in peppermint oil incorporate terpene, liquor, and menthol. Every single one of those synthetic mixes is a natural fumigant, which means that insects and rodents are repulsed when their smell receptors pick up the smell of peppermint.

they are repelled by the smell of these compounds boils down to evolutionary traits. Insects and plants share a long evolutionary history with one another, which means that plants have built up their own self-defenses against bugs and herbivores from benefiting from them or eating them

Can Peppermint Oil Kill Ants?

Yes, it is fairly a viable method to execute ants. If you’ve been considering utilizing essential oils in your home to dispose of ants, at that point, it’s important to know why these oils are a powerful subterranean insect treatment.

because of the aroma of these essential oils, the ants keep themselves away from your house. Most essential oils have a solid aroma and this might be wonderful to people, However, ants are killed by sharp scents.

By spreading essential oils around your home, will make it almost unimaginable for the ants to lead different ants to your property.

Since you realize how essential oils can productively keep ants out of your home, you need to realize which oils are best with regard to insect control. While a few sorts of essential oils can be utilized as an insect poison, some are more proficient at killing ants than others.

Which Oils To Use?

One of the best essential oils to use in pest control is cedarwood. Studies have demonstrated that when it is set among ants and a food source, cedarwood stops the ants from advancing toward the food. Cedarwood is even compelling against extremely forceful insect species, for example, fire ants.

In case you’re keener on executing ants than keeping them from coming into your home, you ought to think about utilizing patchouli essential oil. This oil can remove any type of insect species and has likewise been appeared to have a high death rate for these irritating insects.

What Other Things Repel Ants?


Mix a 50/50 arrangement of vinegar and water in a shower bottle. Shower it straightforwardly on the ants to kill them, at that point wipe up the ants using a clammy paper towel and dispose of them. You can likewise utilize vinegar and water as an obstacle; splash it around your windowsills, entryways and different spots where you see ants coming inside.

Lemon Juice

Much the same as vinegar, lemon squeeze additionally appears to demolish the aroma trails that ants follow. Try mixing up a solution of 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts water and use as an all-purpose spray. Spray the lemon solution around gateways and the border of your home, or any territories where you see ants.


Cinnamon is an extraordinary alternative that can be used to kill ants. At the point when an insect breathes in cinnamon, it suffocates and dies. You can utilize ground cinnamon and sprinkle on the ants’ way or around an ant colony dwelling place opening. Cinnamon essential oil likewise functions admirably to repulse ants.

Cayenne Pepper or Black Pepper

Both cayenne and dark pepper repulse ants.

Ants hate cayenne pepper. Dark pepper will also work similarly as well. Locate the source of the ant infestation problem, sprinkle some pepper around that area, and if possible, create a wall that will stop the ants from accessing your household. An alternative solution is to mix some pepper with water and spray the resulting solution at the ants.. The pepper won’t kill the ants however, it sure will hinder them from returning.

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) additionally functions admirably as a subterranean insect repellent. This powder is the fossilized remaining parts of marine phytoplankton. The minuscule well-honed edges of DE can slice through the ants’ exoskeletons, slowly making their body dry out.

Hopefully, this article was informative, and gave you some interesting insight about the behaviour of ants when it comes to their dead fellows as well as thought you their unique practices. If you have any further related questions feel free to use the comment section below. Moreover, if you want to know an answer to whether insects seek and take revenge, we have a great article written on just that, you can give that a look “here“. And if you want to go through some interesting facts about insects, natgeokids has a great article written on that, you can give that a look “here

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