Harvey Flooding Exposes Hazard: Massive Colonies of Fire Ants [VIDEO]
As if Houston doesn’t have enough problems, check out what looms.
If you’re unfamiliar with fire ants, then consider yourself lucky. Those little bastards hurt, and they come in large numbers.
Check out this little ship of pain floating in the floods ravaging Houston.
Anybody growing up in Texas knows fire ants, and knows them well. You undoubtedly have been stung, as they are literally everywhere.
The floods from Hurricane Harvey have caused the insects to abandon their underground lairs, and do what is necessary to survive. Thus, the ants build their own Noah’s Ark of sorts, and float until the waters recede, and they can rebuild.
So far so good with respect to the ants happening upon helpless humans or pets. But know that under the circumstances, the ants are hungry and desperate. Any confrontation with human or animal will not go well for the non-insects.
According to the pest-control experts at Orkin, fire ants can exist in colonies of up to 250,000 worker-insects and will sting intruders repeatedly. Fire ants feed on animal or vegetable sources of food. In other words, humans and pets can be on the menu. Each sting provide a flesh-dissolving cocktail that allows the ants to feast on their prey. As one source explained,
Fire ants often attack small animals and can kill them. Unlike many other ants, which bite and then spray acid on the wound, fire ants bite only to get a grip and then sting (from the abdomen) and inject a toxic alkaloid venom called Solenopsin, a compound from the class of piperidines.
Needless to say, colonies of ants of this size pose a very real problem for evacuees and first responders.
“They live in a mound,” Entomologist Raupp said. “It’s a large mound that you will be able to see on the ground. If you bump into that nest, they will swarm out immediately and aggressively attack you, and no other ants will do that. There are no other stinging ants in North America. So if you get stung by an ant, you can pretty much assume it’s a fire ant.”
Fire ants sting very distinctively, Raupp said. Mosquito bites usually go unfelt and only are noticeable when they begin itching. Fire ant bites are noticeable immediately. The bites begin as little red marks that turn into white pustules or blisters, which go away after several days unless they become infected.
For now, the mounds are gone, as the ants have gone seaward. Ideally, pest-control would find these flotillas of pain, and eradicate the invaders. At least that way something good could come from the flood.
Until then, hopefully Texans can avoid these ants.