Research led by Dr. Matt Hutchings and published today in the journal BMC Biology shows that ants use the antibiotics to inhibit the growth of unwanted fungi and bacteria in their fungus cultures which they use to feed their larvae and queen.
These antibiotics are produced by actinomycete bacteria that live on the ants in a mutual symbiosis.
Although these ants have been studied for more than 100 years this is the first demonstration that a single ant colony uses multiple antibiotics and is reminiscent of the use of multidrug therapy to treat infections in humans.
So a pest using pesticides. Also, it turns out the antibiotic they use might be useful for people as well.