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Ants keep a clean house, U of I Study Finds

August 29, 2019

U of I's Jane Lucas from the Department of Soil and Water Systems published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B about Azteca alfari ant nests in trumpet trees. The study indicates that the microbial community inside ant nests differs from the community outside the nest, and nursery chambers have a lower number of bacteria species than the rest of the nest. These findings suggest that Azteca ants can alter the microbial community in their nest, likely limiting the build-up of insect-infecting pathogens.

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at