Some People Smell Ants, And The Internet Is Utterly Speechless

Posted by John Duffley
TikTok user learns not everyone smells ants
TikTok: @peepeepoopooemily

One viral video uncovered a shocking truth: Some people can apparently smell ants. Now, we need to know what they smell like.

Who could forget the famous dress color debate of 2015? That damn photograph had half of the internet saying it was black and blue while the other half saw a white and gold dress in the same pattern. It is viral trends like this that breathe life into social media users everywhere, and 2020's wildness is only getting weirder with the latest online debate.

TikTok user @peepeepoopooemily (Someone induct Emily in the screen name Hall of Fame) posted a harmless clip on the video sharing platform -- Emily realized "some people can't smell dead ants." She was flabbergasted at this weird animal fact. And while she felt it was a little odd, she quickly realized after the video exploded that most people had absolutely no idea what in the heck she was talking about.

TikTok Asks, "Can You Smell Ants?"



♬ original sound - E-milly 😳💸💯🔥

After Emily's first video went viral, people on both sides of this supremely 2020 debate emerged. Claims that ants smell whether they were dead or not erupted, including a follow up video from the debate's founder to back up her initial claim and rally support for her "Ants Definitely Smell" contingency.



♬ original sound - E-milly 😳💸💯🔥

It's time we settle this debate, because in this humble writer's 29 years of life, I can confidently say that I've never (knowingly) caught a hefty whiff of ant and thought, "Damn ants again!"

What Do Ants Smell Like?

In search of what pheromones ant colonies are churning out, I stumbled upon a few different answers. What follows cannot be confirmed by me because, again, I have never smelled an ant in my life.

Western Exterminator explains that odorous house ant colonies can be found all over the United States, but these common ants that wreak are found in the Pacific Northwest. They apparently smell like coconuts.

"An odorous house ant, despite the name, doesn't have an inherent smell. Since they burrow into soil and are sometimes called "soil ants" they may smell like dirt if there are enough of them. So, how did they get their name?

"Odorous house ants have a scent that they leave when they are crushed or stepped on. It has been described as like "rotten coconuts." That's why they are sometimes called coconut ants. While that may not be much when you just crush one ant, but if you crush a lot of them, the smell can be quite potent and be hard to get rid of around the house."


Then, there's the sterling ant infestation research of Clint Penick. The postdoctoral researcher at North Carolina State specializes in Tapinoma sessile, the scientific name for these stanky critters. After asking hundreds of people what they thought these black ants smell like, he came to the conclusion that a majority of people didn't think they smell like rotten coconuts.

That's because the first place vote was none other than blue cheese. Umm... what?

"It turns out that the scents of blue cheese andT. sessileare both caused by the same class of chemicals, called methyl ketones. Coconut's smell wasn't related at all.

"Then Penick tried one more thing: he buried the coconut in his yard.

"When he dug the coconut up a week later, it was covered in a blue mold and smelled exactly cheese. When they tested it, Penick and Smith learned that thePenicilliummold on the coconut produces the same methyl ketones found in blue cheese."

-- North Carolina State University

If that's not all: Rancid butter also came up...

I've never found intrigue in any species of ants, truly. Carpenter ants, Argentine ants, fire ants, termites -- You name it, I couldn't tell you much about them.

And unless this viral trend changes my mind, I'm living in a world of denial that ants actually smell like rotten coconut-flavored blue cheese and drizzled with rancid butter.

Can YOU smell ants lurking around? Let us know in the Facebook comments!

READ MORE: 13 Purifying Houseplants That Are Safe for Cats and Dogs

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Some People Smell Ants, And The Internet Is Utterly Speechless