As if the Harvey has spared any space for the situation to get worse, the ant colonies spotted in the flood waters sparked fear among the residents. Texas folks are being warned to avoid trekking and venturing through the dangerous flood waters and the reason is obvious- fire ants. If you don’t know what fire ants are, here is a brief introduction. Fire ant is the stinging ant, much obvious to their names. Some species are also known by the name ‘red ants’ owing to their peculiar light brown colour.
Mike Hixenbaugh, a medical reporter at the Houston Chronicle, shared a harrowing footage on Twitter on Sunday. In the footage, one can see a massive colony of ants floating through the flood waters in Houston following the torrential rains which flooded the city over the weekend.
In the caption, he advised the people to not to touch the colony even by mistake.
"Pro tip: Don't touch the floating fire ant colonies," he wrote. "They will ruin your day."
He shared another footage in which he told that the ant colony is now only a couple of feet away from his house. The video was as terrifying as it can be. It is not a rare sight to see the fire ants forming a colony over waters. They crop up after any sort of major flooding. The most dangerous fact is, that they will continue floating till they find something dry. And they don’t care what that something ‘dry’ might be. It can be a human as well!
And look, guys. The ants are now just feet from house. pic.twitter.com/rt2aU7Uvm3— Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) August 28, 2017
"Floodwaters will not drown fire ants. Instead, their colonies emerge from the soil, form a loose ball, float, and flow with the water until they reach a dry area or object they can crawl up on," Paul R. Nester, a specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, told the Houstonia Magazine.
"Floating fire ant colonies can look like ribbons, streamers, mats, rafts, or an actual 'ball' of ants floating on the water."
The residents are advised to wear cuffed gloves, rubber boots and protective rain gear to prevent getting bitten by the ants. To break down the colony, it is advised to use the soap water. This will disperse the colony of ants, as the soap water dissolve the wax they use to stick together.