Formic Acid is used industrially in removing hair and tanning of animal skins and in the manufacturing of dye and rubber. It is also used to control tracheal mites and help in the suppression of varroa mites in honey bee hives. The name comes from Formica rufa, the scientific name for a species of red ants. Formic acid was originally obtained by crushing these ants and distilling the liquid from them. Now it is created by a two state chemical process. Formic acid in its pure state is a colorless liquid with a sharp pungent odor. This is the odor you smell when you crush ants.