Will Ants Cross A Chalk Line On The Ground?

A quick look around Reddit and answers.com shows that there seems to be a common consensus among the answers: “No”. However, this is not evidenced enough for me, so I conducted my own experiment in order to see if it is true or false; I will leave the answer open until the end of the article. Let’s finally find out the age-old question, will ants cross a chalk line?

In case you’re still wondering what sort of question this is, here’s why: Ants are very small and curious insects that love exploring new territories and finding food (which they share with their colony). Ants also rely on their colony to form lines and paths to food and back home. You can just imagine how ants would react when we humans draw chalk lines on paths they normally walk. The most common concern people seem to have is whether it would affect their path-finding instincts and if it would disturb where they walk.

In my studies, the majority of the time, ants will not cross a chalk line! When I conducted my experiments, I drew a chalk line across a popular ant path, and they would often stop dead right before the chalk, and try to find a path around the chalk instead of crossing it.

will ants cross chalk line

Why Won’t Ants Cross A Chalk Line?

So why won’t ants cross a chalk line? I mean, it’s not like they can see the chalk. Ants have an aversion to walking across or touching any sort of lines drawn on the ground especially lines that have a residue such as chalk. This could be attributed to their natural instincts being so sensitive towards environmental changes and external stimuli.

They are incredibly accurate trackers where paths go and how straight they are, so ants have unique ways of tracking its path that also makes them avoid crossing a chalk line? Scientists break down how these insects walk by looking at diagrams. All six feet touch the ground in equal time intervals as all legs move back and forth symmetrically. When this mode of walking is broken, such as if there’s something in their path, it can cause their whole coordination to be disrupted.

Along with this, ants rely on pheromone trails to understand where their fellow ants have walked to find food sources or their way back home. When a chalk line is drawn it interrupts the pheromone trail and can cause the ants to lose their navigation. Note, other species of ants such as Fire Ants don’t follow the exact same pheromones and Carpenter Ants are slightly different as well.

Final Thoughts On Ants And Chalk Lines:

Overall from my studies, I have found that more often than not, ants will not cross chalk lines drawn on the ground. It generally causes them to stop dead and try to find a way around the chalk line or turn around completely. Most of this is because of the pheromone trails ants use to navigate and understand paths, so when this pheromone trail is broken up, the ants can become lost.

If you’re dealing with an ant infestation, check out our guide on how to get rid of ants with borax!