Food collection and response to pheromones in an ant species exposed to electromagnetic radiation

Electromagn Biol Med. 2013 Sep;32(3):315-32. doi: 10.3109/15368378.2012.712877. Epub 2013 Jan 15.


We used the ant species Myrmica sabuleti as a model to study the impact of electromagnetic waves on social insects' response to their pheromones and their food collection. We quantified M. sabuleti workers' response to their trail, area marking and alarm pheromone under normal conditions. Then, we quantified the same responses while under the influence of electromagnetic waves. Under such an influence, ants followed trails for only short distances, no longer arrived at marked areas and no longer orientated themselves to a source of alarm pheromone. Also when exposed to electromagnetic waves, ants became unable to return to their nest and recruit congeners; therefore, the number of ants collecting food increases only slightly and slowly. After 180 h of exposure, their colonies deteriorated. Electromagnetic radiation obviously affects social insects' behavior and physiology.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ants
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Behavior, Animal / radiation effects*
  • Electromagnetic Radiation*
  • Pheromones / pharmacology*


  • Pheromones