NYC’s Ants Are Tiny but Wildly Efficient Street Cleaning Crews

December 2, 2014 12:01 PM

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Half-eaten hotdogs and other food litter aren’t just gross, it also feeds pests like pigeons, rats, and flies, which harbor and spread human pathogens. And cleaning up is pricey: In 2008, the US spent about 11.5 billion on cleaning up after sloppy eaters, according to a study by the anti-litter group Keep America Beautiful. The same study found that food accounted for up to 26 percent of all the waste on American streets.

A new study suggests that if we could figure out how to manage them, ants could be like tiny clean up crews, and help us starve out populations of larger pests that can carry disease.

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