The Latest Anti-Ant Invention: “Eco-Friendly” Slip-n-Slide Paint

There is perhaps no tale as ancient as the tale of a human hell-bent on keeping ants out of their home. It’s no surprise that we chose to launch this outlet, over two and a half years ago, with a treatise in defense of house ants. Surely no one, by now, is shocked at the freshest antagonistic plot the humans have cooked up: “eco-friendly” slippery paints.

A cohort of human scientists, led by Aurélie Féat (an “Industrial PhD student” at AkzoNobel), recently reported their anti-antvention in Progress in Organic Coatings. They describe how the special paint coating, when above a certain “critical Pigment Volume Concentration” (CPVC), results in loose particles detaching when ants walk across the surface. These rogue particles subsequently adhere to ant tarsi pads and cause the poor sisters to slip, preventing movement up a wall. See for yourself how this band of scientists “fouled” the tarsi of Atta cephalotes leaf-cutter ants with “contaminating particles”:

1-s2.0-S0300944019303753-gr8_lrg
Figure 8 in Féat et al. (2019).

The study authors claim that this novel waterborne and organic paint coating substance is more “eco-friendly” than insecticides. But does any product designed to repel our formicid friends deserve such a generous descriptor? We’ll let our readers decide.