As if the personal hell the good folks of Houston have been going through weren’t bad enough, now there’s THIS nasty side effect of the flooding.
The flooding, displacement, disruptions to family, and the economy weren’t bad enough.
As if the chemical fires, the contaminated floodwater, and the various health concerns weren’t bad enough.
Now they have floating islands of these evil little bastards to contend with.
Some of you may not know why they’re such a big deal, and others may want to know what someone should do if they see a floating island of these hellions.
Holy crap. I have never, in my entire career as an ant researcher, seen *anything* like this. https://t.co/jIjTOo3fZc
— Alex Wild (@Myrmecos) August 29, 2017
The most obvious advice? Stay the hell away from them.
— Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) August 27, 2017
But what if that isn’t an option?
Do NOT poke it, or try to push it away. YOU will become the high ground they try to escape to. That is a VERY bad thing.
But there is something you CAN do.
Probably not what you’d expect.
As awesome as that would be, that’s probably not an option.
There’s something far more practical. One that will sink the whole island of the little bastards.
But it will break up the surface tension of the water and drop the beasties into it.
Spray a bit of soapy water on an ant raft and it will break apart and begin sinking almost instantaneously. “As soon as ants become even slightly soapy, they immediately release their grip with each other, which is shown by the disintegration of the raft and its submergence underwater,” Hu and his colleagues found.
The soapy water not only makes the ants unable to grab their neighbors, it also prevents the formation of air bubbles around a submerged ant. An experiment conducted in the 1990s found that the application of a mildly soapy solution kills off anywhere from 80 to 90 percent of a floating ant colony within 10 minutes. —WP
There is one catch, however.
You have to get pretty close to the colony to use this trick. And if you’re smart, won’t want to get that close.
Not to these guys, anyway.