Colonies of fire ants float around flooded Texas streets

Colonies of fire ants float around flooded Texas streets
By Emma Beswick
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What should you do when faced with a floating colony of fire ants?

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Thousands of fire ants stuck together in a group were seen floating around in the Tropical Storm Harvey flood waters in Texas.

The colonies can consist of up to 100, 000 of the creatures who rise up out of the ground and grab onto each other for survival when flooding occurs.

Local reporter Mike Hixenbaugh posted a video of one of the clumps of ants in Eldridge in Houston on Twitter.

His post came with a warning not to touch the colonies after they “tore his left ankle/foot up”.

“Those bites itch for days,” he said.

Paul Nester, a Houston-based fire ant expert at AgriLife Extension Service, gave clear advice for anyone facing a ball of the creatures: “Avoid, avoid, avoid.”

“If anybody comes in contact with that, hits it, well then, the ants immediately will stream onto that person just like they would onto a log or onto a bank because they’re looking for high ground,” he continued.

What should you do if you find yourself covered in fire ants? Nester said you should avoid trying to wash them off as water just makes the ants cling to your body even harder and more likely to sting you.

“We really recommend that people just brush them off to the best of their ability,” he said.

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