Large colonies or “islands” of fireplace ants are being noticed floating atop Hurricane Florence floodwaters in North and South Carolina.
The colonies include “aggressive” ants that pile on prime of one another to create an island on prime of water — and they are often doubtlessly harmful.
In keeping with the South Carolina Division of Well being and Environmental Management, fireplace ant stings are “gentle irritants” to most individuals. Nonetheless, about one in 200 persons are severely allergic to the bites. Critical reactions can lead to hives, facial swelling, and problem respiration. In uncommon instances, it could actually result in nausea, sweating, dizziness or chest ache.
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“Dying might happen if speedy remedy will not be out there,” the group explains on its web site.
The phenomenon will not be new — the ants are sometimes noticed following storms that trigger flooding. And eliminating them will be laborious in such instances.
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“Throughout instances of excessive water or soaked floor, the standard remedies for fireplace ants usually are not sensible,” the web site explains. “Individuals needs to be alert for fireplace ants throughout clear up from a catastrophe and put on protecting clothes.”
The ants garnered consideration following 2017’s Hurricane Harvey as nicely, with a number of folks posting movies of the ants on social media.
Research have warned these dwelling in areas the place there’s flooding to be careful for the ants, particularly if they’re utilizing boats for transportation.
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A 2012 research printed within the Communicative and Integrative Biology journal stated that the colonies can have greater than 100,000 ants.
Analysis by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service defined how people ought to act in the event that they do encounter the ants whereas boating.
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“Keep away from contact with floating mats of fireplace ants. In case you are in a row boat, don’t contact the ants with the oars since they’ll “climb aboard” by way of the oars. Sometimes, floating ant plenty are encountered even indoors in flooded constructions,” warns an article printed by the group.
It added that the ants can “cling to the pores and skin” and even high-pressure water is not going to take away them.
“Nonetheless, a sprig fabricated from diluted biodegradable dishwashing liquid might assist immobilize and drown them,” it learn.
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