HOUSTON — As the people of Texas struggle with catastrophic flooding, a certain creature is thriving.
Fire ants have been spotted floating in clumps in the tropical storm Harvey floodwaters.
Each bunch can contain thousands to millions of ants, according to Popular Science.
“The critters at the bottom regularly switch out with the ones on the top, so (almost) none of the insects stay under long enough to drown,” Popular Science reported.
“The most valuable members of the group — like the queen and her newest babies — are pushed to the top and center for safe keeping.”
Fire ants link their bodies together to become a waterproof raft, according to a study in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.
They’re also extremely aggressive. Fire ants don’t just bite — they bite, clamp down and inject venom.
Not only that, but when fire ants are disturbed, the entire colony attacks.
“When disturbed, fire ants emerge aggressively, crawling up vertical surfaces, biting and stinging ‘all at once,'” according to researchers at Texas A&M University.
“These are everywhere,” Mike Hixenbaugh with the Houston Chronicle said on Twitter. “Also, they got in my pants and I hate them.”
There’s one thing fire ants can’t stand: Soap.
“Soapy water prevents the ants from trapping bubbles of air around their bodies, which means they soon sink,” Popular Science advised. “Evacuees and volunteers can ward off swarms by spraying them with detergent.”
Red and black imported fire ants are native to South America and were accidentally introduced into the U.S. around the 1930s, the Texas A&M website states.AlertMe