Do Ants Bury Their Dead?

Ants live in an orderly society, and when one dies, its body releases oleic acid, which signals the rest of the colony that death has occurred. Almost immediately, this triggers the other ants into action: The ants gather up their dead comrades and carry the bodies outside the nest, placing them in a pile called a midden. They do this to protect the colony, and their queen, from any type of contamination.

Disposing of the dead:

  • Ants aren’t alone in this type of behavior. Bees, for example, will push their dead right out of the hive.
  • If ants are a problem, you don’t have to use strong chemicals. A mixture of Borax, sugar, and water sprayed around the foundation of your house will deter them.
  • You could also scatter some cinnamon around places where you see ants -- they hate cinnamon.
More Info: Indiana Public Media

Discussion Comments


Do they put injured ants in the pile too? There is a pile of brown moving things on my sidewalk.


I hate ants! Cinnamon does work though. I started using it around the kitchen where there was a good hole back where we used to have a lot of ants and they are mostly gone now.

Put in areas where you think they come from, link cracks, around areas (like underneath kitchen or dishwasher areas or cabinets or inside bathroom) where you think they are coming from and it helps to keep them away.

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