People on TikTok are saying they can smell ants and out of the wild things on social media, this one is utterly bizarre. How can tiny little bugs have an odor? Well, it’s true.
If you are an ant smeller, you already know this, but a small percentage of people can detect the presence of ants with their noses. It’s a genetic quirk affecting around twenty percent of the population, according to a very non-scientific X (formerly Twitter) poll.
Some ants are specifically stinky, like the odorous house ant (AKA sugar ant) which release a smelly pheromone when squished. This alerts the queen to have more ant kids ASAP. Other times, ants leave stinky trails so the rest of the colony can find the food too, or to attract other ants. Bad smells can also make ants taste bad to predators. Scent is just one of the ways ants communicate with each other and the world around them.
The real question is if people truly are genetically predisposed to smelling ants or if some people just aren’t aware that’s what they’re smelling. Can you really not smell them or have you just never given it much thought?
If you are part of the majority of people who can’t smell ants, consider yourself lucky. From personal experience, I can tell you ants smell nasty and if I could lose that ability I would. You’re not missing anything. They’re not as bad as ladybugs though. Y’all can smell those, right? Right?