Floating ant colonies roam Houston waters after Harvey

Victims of Hurricane Harvey’s devastating flooding in Houston and Southeast Texas have a brand new menace to fret about: floating colonies of aggressive hearth ants.

In contrast to the pretend photograph of a shark on the freeway, this seems to be an actual drawback Houston-space residents should cope with within the coming days. The bugs are recognized for the painful stings they inflict once they are available contact with pores and skin.

Because the Houston Chronicle reported in 2015, the pink hearth ants, or Solenopsis invicta, evacuate their underground nests when the tunnels begin to flood. A Chronicle reported tweeted Monday a video of fireside ants clinging on simply ft from a home.

“By the point water covers the mound and the tunnels are flooded, the ants have moved up and out of the nest, locking legs collectively and forming a floating mass of fireside ants, referred to as a raft,” Dr. Robert Puckett, assistant professor and extension entomologist at Texas A&M College advised the Chronicle.

Click on right here to see a photograph of fireside ants floating on the river.

The colony of fireside ants will float alongside till it finds one thing strong to stay to, which could possibly be something from a tree department to the roof of somebody’s flooded home.
Specialists at Texas A&M warn to not make contact with these floating ant colonies, not even with the oar of a ship as a result of they could “climb aboard.”

“Particles piles from the floodwaters or piles of things from flooded houses are potential nesting websites for hearth ants,” Puckett informed the Chronicle. “Remember that fireplace ants could be underneath something.”

That features carpet, broken hardwood flooring, and furnishings.

When floodwaters recede, individuals ought to nonetheless watch out when choosing up particles, and put on bug repellent and protecting gear, like lengthy sleeves and rubber boots.

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