Education

If You See This Thing Floating On Top Of The Water Do Not Disturb It No Matter What

Those of us who live in the southern United States know about fire ants. Their stinging defense mechanism is quite effective at getting rid of not only other animals but humans too! Did you know that there are more than 200 distinct species of fire ants?!

fire ants and water
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They belong to the Solenopsis genus – what is more fascinating (and creepy) is that they all have some amazing survival skills! Perhaps the most infamous fire ant is the South American red imported fire ant (also known as the Solenopsis invicta and RIFAs).

fire ants and water
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RIFAs live in several countries around the world, including the US and they have the ability to survive extreme weather and temperatures.

fire ants and water
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One obstacle they have learned to deal with is a flood (or other water hazards). Water is no longer a good way to get rid of the tiny pests because they have figured out how to float!

fire ants and water
Image Credit: abbamouse / Wikimedia Commons

The colony of ants will form a makeshift raft by having the worker ants six-year-old the base, and the larvae, eggs, and queen will ride on the top!

fire ants and water
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The colony has no way to survive if the queen dies, so she gets to have a seat of honor!

fire ants and water
Image Credit: NatalieK / Wikimedia Commons

Watch the Nat Geo WILD clip below to see the fire ants assemble their raft and then float safely away!

Part of me is impressed with their ability to survive, and another part of me is horrified that they have figured this out! So next time you see them floating, don’t disturb them – it could end bad… for you!

fire ants and water
Image Credit: N/A
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