Formic acid (systematically called methanoic acid) is the simplest carboxylic acid. Its formula is HCOOH or HCO2H. It is an important intermediate in chemical synthesis and occurs naturally, most notably in the venom of bee and ant stings. In fact, its name comes from the Latin word for ant, formica, referring to its early isolation by the distillation of ant bodies. An ester or salt derived from formic acid is referred to as formate.