In this guest post, Your Wild Life post-doc and ant-sniffer extraordinaire Clint Penick describes his quest to sort out exactly what an odorous house ant smells like.
This past weekend at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences annual BugFest, we convinced a couple hundred people to sniff ants. We started off light, with a bouquet of lemon and citrus from the citronella ant, Lasius claviger. Then we plowed ahead, shoving an angry carpenter ant under the nose of anyone who would take it to demonstrate the acrid, vinegar smell of formic acid. If the participant was [...]