Fire Ants Have Unique Way Of Dealing With Flooding

Posted: Oct 6 2015, 4:46pm CDT | by , Updated: Oct 6 2015, 8:42pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Fire Ants Have Unique Way to Deal With Flooding
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Floodwaters are ravaging the streets and parks of South Carolina, and the Governor, Nikki Haley, has said that the event was a 1-in-1,000 year event for the area. Due to those high waters, some of the local wildlife has taken some extreme measures to stay safe. Photographers have captured what appears to be mounds of fire ants that are actually floating on top of the water.

Most people didn't know that fire-ants can actually do this, when they are in a large group.

A local South Carolina television station, WSAV-TV, captured thousands upon thousands of ants piled on top of each other and posted the image to Facebook:

Did you see this from our photographer Chris Murray? Ants just trying to survive the floods.Posted by WSAV Meteorologist Jessica Conley on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

While this is a first for the fire ants, there have been other reports of ants floating together in areas of flooding - most recently when there was deadly flooding in Texas.

This isn't anything that scientists haven't known for years, according to Tim Davis, an entomologist and Clemson University senior extension agent. He told USA Today that the ants can link together to assemble floats that will save their lives in under two minutes:

“If the water rises, they kind of all grab a hold of each other, and they can do this for several days, until they reach higher ground,” Davis said.

David Hu, an engineering professor, said that the water-resistant shells have helped them stay afloat.

Davis stresses that humans need to stay away from the ants at all cost.

“If one of those rafts comes in contact with you, or you try to break it apart, it will likely disperse and crawl up you," he said. That wouldn't be fun for anyone.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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