Cleaning, but safely! Cocoons protect sensitive ant brood during toxic disinfection

Ants are neat: when they move into a new nest box, they spend the first days cleaning it thoroughly, like us humans getting out the cleaning bucket when moving into a new home. Despite keeping the nest clean, using poison within the nest is dangerous and can kill unprotected brood. However, the silk cocoon that surrounds the ant’s sensitive pupae protects them from any harmful effects, as Sylvia Cremer from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), and her team, including first author doctoral student Christopher Pull – now a postdoc at the Royal Holloway University London (RHUL) – show in today’s edition of Current Biology. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)