DOI: 10.1093/jee/toad225 ISSN: 0022-0493

2-Methoxybenzaldehyde effectively repels ants

Tomas Kay, Georges Siegenthaler, Timothy Kench, Laurent Keller
  • Insect Science
  • Ecology
  • General Medicine


Ants can particularly make for harmful pests, infesting human homes and reducing crop yields. The damage caused by ants and the efforts to mitigate the damage are hugely costly. Broad-spectrum insecticides are used most commonly; however, due to their negative side effects, there is increasing interest in nontoxic alternatives. One promising commercially available alternative is 2-hydroxybenzaldehyde, which is naturally produced by various arthropods as a means of chemical defense and effectively repels ants. Here we conduct a structure–activity relationship investigation, testing how different chemical modifications alter the repellence of 2-hydroxybenzaldehyde. We find that 2-methoxybenzaldehyde is considerably more effective than 2-hydroxybenzaldehyde at repelling the common black garden ant, Lasius niger. We next compare the most effective repellent chemicals against 4 particularly harmful ant species to confirm that the results obtained with L. niger are general to ants and that our results are relevant to mitigate the costs of ant damage.

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