Formic acid and Ants

Have you wondered why when an ant bites you, it starts itching? It is because ant secrete formic acid as a defence mechanism in order to protect themselves. Ants inject formic acid when they bite you. The acid irritates your tissue and later leads to inflammation. The response to the inflammation is what causes the itching.

Formic acid is commercially sold in the market in the name of methanoic acid or formic acid. It is the most important raw material for methanol production. Some of the top players in formic acid are BASF, Eastman chemical company and Feicheng acid chemicals. When studied geographically Europe, especially Germany and Mainland China are the top suppliers for formic acid in the world.

Formic acid is widely used a preservative and antibacterial agent in animal feedstock. They preserve the nutrients and integrity of the livestock , slowing down the decay processes. In poultry industry, they are used to kill salmonella bacteria.

Esters of formic acid are used in scents and perfumes. Apart from the regular applications, formic acid is being used for research purposes, especially in cells and batteries and they are very promising.

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