For humans self medicating is a common practice we carry out when we are sick to make us feel better. However in the wild science has found little evidence of self medicating until recently.
According to research carried out by scientists at the University of Helsinki in Finland, the black ant (scientific name Formica Fusca) seeks different food after it has been exposed to fungal pathogens. Specifically the ants ingest hydrogen peroxide that they forage for in surrounding damaged plants as well as in other insects and cadavers.
In an official statement from the research team, professor of biological and environmental sciences, Dalial Fretak, said the following; "When ants are feeding on the diet containing extra free radicals, they are able to survive infections significantly better. Moreover, the ants also choose the diet including extra free radicals after they are exposed to fungus, but not if they are not,". Furthermore the study found that any healthy ant showing no infectious symptoms experience the same side effect of taking a drug when feeding on hydrogen peroxide. However once infected the free-radical-feeding ants showed about a 20% higher survival rate against lethal fungal disease.
Another researcher Nick Bos had the following to add; "It is an amazing discovery that ants have an idea of their health status and seem to adjust the dosage of medicine to that,". Certainly the discovery is amazing as the study was also just recently recognized and published in the international journal, Evolution.
Sounds like the ants are getting smarter, good thing us humans are pretty sharp ourselves. If you want to do the smart thing and control the ants and pests at your home contact your local pest control expert.
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