Yes, you read that right, floating fire ants are a real thing.
Floating fire ant colonies have been around for as long as fire ants have existed, but due to the 2017 flooding in Houston, people have taken to twitter to report on their existence, usually in terror.
Have a look! 😀
(8/30/17 Editor's Note) If you have haven't heard, Houston is under a TON of water right now due to Hurricane Harvey, and they can use the full support of the nation. If you have the means to donate, please do. To help you avoid potential scams, here are the charities that we recommend: Red Cross, Houston Food Bank, Food Bank of Corpus Christi, Houston Humane Society, Houston SPCA, or San Antonio Humane Society.
And look, guys. The ants are now just feet from house. pic.twitter.com/rt2aU7Uvm3— Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) August 28, 2017
Why Do Fire Ants Float?
Fire ants are a resilient (and buoyant) bunch and when they're queen is threatened by flooding their immediate area, they begin to band together using their legs to create a floating raft. The queen and the larva climb aboard the raft to stay dry and safe.
Unfortunately, for the rest of the colony carrying the queen, they are slowly picked off by the fish underneath the raft. If the raft doesn't find land in time, then the colony dies.
Should I Be Worried About Floating Fire Ants?
Just because they are floating, does not mean that they have lost their ability to sting you., which is very painful, but not deadly. In fact, they are MORE dangerous because if they were to reach you, they are on high alert to defend their queen and their babies.
If you are the first thing they can grab onto while they are floating around, you'll be in for a world of pain.
Our advice is to steer clear of these floating colonies and let them pass on in peace.
What if the colony lands near my house?
Well, if you're lucky enough to get a brand new fire ant colony taking up near your home, we'd recommend checking out our number of fire ant guides where we break down everything you need to know about killing these little guys.