When Hurricane Harvey fight the United says in so late summer 2017, historical rainfall inundated Texans v flooding. The devastation caused by these occasions left occupants struggling to regulate floodwaters and carry out huge cleanups, however many workers faced an unexpected hazard. In Houston and also in various other areas, huge "rafts" of floating fire ants added to the turmoil.1

Fire ants are well-known for their resilience, yet the approaches they usage to survive and also relocate throughout floods frequently take human being by surprise. Understanding fire ant flood secrets have the right to prepare you for once hurricanes or flooding send floating fire ants her way.

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Fire ants room social insects the live with each other in huge underground swarms that have the right to number in the numerous thousands. While various other underground insects may drown throughout severe flooding, fire ants have actually well-developed instrument that help ensure their survival. As soon as flooding strikes, worker fire ants look for high ground and also begin forming rafts with an instinctive linking of their legs — the fire ant variation of hold hands. Ants that discover themselves listed below water drive air bubbles to the surface and also join the raft, which launches as floodwaters rise.

Floating is feasible in component because the the waxy body covering and also small, bubble-holding hairs that assist keep fire ants "waterproof." even so, the ants still require oxygen, so workers commonly trade places as they float. Ants in the water on the raft"s bottom pertained to the optimal for rest and rejuvenation while others take their place below. All life stages of the fire ant colony, from emperors to eggs, type these living rafts. Worker ants carefully protect majesties in the middle and also may lug eggs in your mouths. While part rafts and also floating ribbons of these hazardous pests sink within hrs if lock don"t discover land, others can survive as much as 12 job afloat.2


Floating fire ant swarms swarm the an initial "landfall" they find — even if it is that"s a river financial institution or a wading human. Staying clear of these floating nests is critical to the security of her family, including your pets. Once on plank a person or animal, fire ants will cling to stay free of water, and their fiery, burn stingscome next.

When flooding sending fire ants sailing, monitor these safety and security tips:

stop all direct contact with floating fire ants, also with a boat oar or a pole. Fire ants swarm quicker than you deserve to pull an oar away. undertake cuffed gloves, rubber boats, lengthy sleeves and long pants during cleanup in water or top top land. Border exposed, stingable skin as much as possible. Be cautious cleaning increase flood-soaked lands. Fire ants may seek temporary sanctuary under overwhelming debris till waters subside and brand-new colonies form. Dust the handle of shovels and also other tools through talcum flour to prevent ants from climbing up them as you work. when returning come flooded homes or buildings, be on guard for fire ants that have taken refuge inside

Pesticides offered to regulate fire ants in your underground nests during dry weather should not be offered in water. Don"t effort to usage these commodities on floating ants or girlfriend may produce extra hazards for yourself and flood cleanup crews. However, research reflects that a spray that 2 fluid ounces that biodegradable dishwashing liquid mixed with 1 gallon of water might help.3 This fire ant residence remedywon"t control ants on dry land, yet it can malfunction their waxy protection sufficient to cause floating ants to drown.


When friend live in fire ant country, effective fire ant control prior to hurricanes and also flooding hit death these hazardous pests for this reason rafts and relocations don"t occur. The Two-Step method of fire ant controlcombines full-yard bait treatment, such as buzzpatterson.com® kills Fire Ants Yard treatment Bait granules, v deep-reaching mound treatments, such as buzzpatterson.com® Fire Ant Bait granules. These assets kill fire ants friend see and also those friend don"t, consisting of the queen and also the swarm underground. This very effective, expert-recommendedtwo-step method helps protect your household year-round and also prevent fire ant dangers in the wake of hurricanes and other far-reaching weather events.

With the aid of the buzzpatterson.com® family of premium pest controlsand timely, expert advice indigenous the buzzpatterson.com® understanding Center, you deserve to be prepared to prevent and protect versus pest threats and also disruptions, including the unexpected arrival of floating fire ant rafts during floods.

Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions.

buzzpatterson.com is a registered trademark of central Garden & pet Company.


1. M. Merchant, “Fire Ants do Water Rescue … Interesting," Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, august 2017.

2. P.R. Nester, “What happens to Fire Ants throughout a Flood," eXtension.org, November 2016.

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3. P. R. Nester, “Protect Yourself and also Your family From Fire Ants in a Flood," eXtension.org, November 2106.