As if a hurricane and record-level flooding weren't enough, Texas is now facing massive amounts of fire ants — and yes, this is real.
“They actually love floods. It’s how they get around,” Alex Wild, curator of entomology at the University of Texas at Austin explained to the Atlantic.
Similarly, comparable amounts of fire ants were seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Linda Biu, an entomologist from Louisiana State University, recalled seeing victims of Hurricane Katrina coming into the hospitals with unexplainable rashes, which was later discovered to be hundreds and hundreds of fire ant stings.
As for Texas, the threat of fire ants will depend on how long it takes the water to recede and the makeup of the ant colonies — if they are territorial, they will battle each other, which would be a nightmare for Texans.
However, Bui did note that there was a way to prevent these fire ants — dish soap. “Dawn is a not a registered insecticide, but it will break up the surface tension and they will sink,” she explained.
On the bright side, fire ants are known to eat ticks. Wild told reporters the area might be crawling with fire ants for a while, however, ticks will be virtually non-existent.