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Tue Aug 29, 2017, 02:53 PM

How fire ants form giant rafts to survive Houston floods

Drop a clump of 100,000 fire ants in a pond of water -- or flood a huge area of Texas that's infested with fire ants and drive them out of their nests in large groups. In minutes the clump will flatten and spread into a circular pancake that can float for weeks without drowning the ants.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/houston-floods-fire-ants-form-giant-rafts-to-survive-harvey/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7e&linkId=41582106

16 replies, 3204 views

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply How fire ants form giant rafts to survive Houston floods (Original post)
HAB911 Aug 2017 OP
Warpy Aug 2017 #1
shraby Aug 2017 #3
Warpy Aug 2017 #5
SCantiGOP Aug 2017 #6
Warpy Aug 2017 #7
SCantiGOP Aug 2017 #8
Warpy Aug 2017 #9
SCantiGOP Aug 2017 #11
Warpy Aug 2017 #12
SCantiGOP Aug 2017 #13
Warpy Aug 2017 #14
Xipe Totec Aug 2017 #10
underpants Aug 2017 #2
Doreen Aug 2017 #4
Javaman Aug 2017 #15
Judi Lynn Aug 2017 #16

Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 03:01 PM

1. Too bad those cans of charcoal starter are needed for other things

A hefty stream into the middle of the raft where the queen and the eggs are being protected, toss a match, and you've got one dead colony.

I wonder if the crazy ants know how to raft. I hope not.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 03:18 PM

3. It would be a good time to syphon them off the water and exterminate them.

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Response to shraby (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 03:25 PM

5. They'd never get them all. It would just be satisfying to get some of them.

Invasive species get no love from me.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #5)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 03:49 PM

6. I'm all for biodiversity

But a world without fire ants, mosquitos and roaches would suit me just fine.

I think I recall the old Ogden Nash poem:

God Is great but god makes mistakes;
How else to explain roaches, ants and snakes?

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #6)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 03:52 PM

7. Mosquito larvae feed fresh water fish

and the adults feed bats and birds. Roaches have turned out to be reasonably intelligent, social insects who also feed critters that hunt them, they just need to stay outside.

Fire ants need to GO.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #7)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 04:00 PM

8. Mosquitos kill more people

Than all other animals combined. Not directly but from the diseases they spread: malaria, west nile. Zika, etc.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #8)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 04:04 PM

9. Aedes aegypti is expendable, it's the worst of them all

mostly because it's active during the day, and that makes it the most efficient disease vector.

However, the others are crepuscular and can be avoided during rainy seasons. And they do sustain us by being part of the food chain in 2 stages of their lives.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #9)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 06:56 PM

11. I know that well

I am a mosquito magnet for some reason and I used to only worry about the 2-3 hours around sunup and sundown.
Since those little egyptian bastards moved into SC I get bitten mowing the lawn at noon in the middle of the yard.


(Edit for typo: why does spellcheck not allow the word 'well'? It insists on the apostrophe every time.)

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #11)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 07:02 PM

12. You've got two viable options

Take up smoking. Little bastards hate the stink as much as I do, but it does shoo them away, they don't like having smoke blown at them. Or wear Off and smell like a scout camp until winter arrives.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #12)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 07:05 PM

13. I spray all exposed skin

with Off Outdoors. It works about 90%.

I quit smoking 9 years ago as of Aug 1. I would take scorpion bites rather than start that again.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #13)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 07:09 PM

14. Understood. I reeked of Off when I lived in Mass.

Blood sucking bastards love me, too.

DEET is really the better option.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 05:21 PM

10. A couple of drops of Dawn detergent does the trick

It's all about breaking surface tension.

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 03:12 PM

2. I've seen the pics. Truly amazing.

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Tue Aug 29, 2017, 03:18 PM

4. I actually read about that long ago.

Can't remember where as it was long ago and I really did not pay much attention to it but I do remember it some.

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 11:29 AM

15. how do they choose who is on the bottom? nt

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 04:52 PM

16. Fire Ants Are Yet Another Hazard in Houstons Flooded Streets


By CHRISTINE HAUSER
AUG. 30, 2017



The streets in Texas flooded by Hurricane Harvey brought upheaval to nature’s earthbound creatures, throwing them out of their natural habitats into a world overwhelmed with water.

People sloshed through chest-high waters clutching children. Shadowy alligators floated in yards. A man caught a fish in his house. Bats were priedfrom bridges. Livestock paddled through streets where they were once fleet of foot.

But certainly among the creepiest images to emerge were the rust-colored mounds formed by colonies of fire ants, the nightmarish spawn of the storm that first made landfall last week and soaked South Texas with record-setting rains. At least 31 deaths have been confirmed.

Soon after the waters rose, the insects’ enterprise and instinct for communal self-preservation kicked in. They rose up from their underground tunnel systems and literally stuck together to survive, linking their claws and clinging to one another in massive rafts and balls that floated and spun in the current.

More:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/fire-ants-harvey-hurricane-storm.html

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