Teamwork : Rafts formed by floating fire-ants in Houston

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Rafts formed by floating fire-ants in Houston

With Hurricane Harvey, leaving Houston flooded, it’s not just humans who have been left homeless. Fire ants have been driven from their underground homes and can be seen floating in the form of rafts. The ants clump around their queen by sticking together using their water-resistant, waxy bodies. Each raft can contain more than 100,000 ants. The ants search for dry land and once they find it, they go back to their usual underground nests.

The ants can survive for weeks without any other food source by eating their young and return to their usual food habits on reaching dry land. The rafts are tough and don’t even break the surface of the water when it is pushed down. It is best to stay from these rafts as the fire ants are aptly named for their burning sting. And once one ant stings, it sends a signal to the others who also follow suit. This will most definitely be very painful and can be extremely dangerous for those who are allergic. But there is a solution to this problem. Squeezing some detergent on the raft drown the ants as it leads to the breaking of surface tension.
This is a new danger that has been brought about by the flood and people are requested to stay as far away from the rafts as possible.

 

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