Treating infection

Preventing pathogen replication

Ants treat infections and thereby prevent pathogen replication and hence disease transmission through the colony. They are able to detect infections already during the non-infectious incubation period by chemical cues and to treat them by complex behaviors and use of  antimicrobials. This allows them to prevent the pathogen from producing new infectious particles, a highly efficient way to stop disease spread through the colony.

Read more on how ants detect and treat infections:


Research Paper
Pull CD, Ugelvig LV, Wiesenhofer F, Grasse AV, Tragust S, Schmitt T, Brown MJF, Cremer S
(2018) Destructive disinfection of infected brood prevents systemic disease spread in ant colonies
Research Paper
Ugelvig LV, Kronauer DJC, Schrempf A, Heinze J, Cremer S
(2010) Rapid anti-pathogen response in ant societies relies on high genetic diversity
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

The concept

Sanitary care

Nest hygiene

Treating infection

Social immunisation

Organisational immunity