Other Worries for Harvey Victims

LEWISBURG -- With all that rain in Texas, victims of Hurricane Harvey also have other problems to worry about.

No, this is not a fallen tree, it's a colony of fire ants. Tens of thousands of them, according to Biology Professor Greg Pask at Bucknell University in Lewisburg. He says the ants are in "raft mode". When a flood hits, they group together with the queen in the middle.

"And then they're just so covered in these waxy, oily compounds that they just float to the top of the water surface,"Professor Greg Pask said.

Professor Pask says the fire ants feel threatened by people. With the water rescues in Texas, watching out for fire ants is not the first thing on someone's mind.

"When one fire ant stings it releases an alarm that triggers the other ones to attack as well. When they're in raft mode they're actually more aggressive," Pask said.

Professor Pask says the fire ants normally live underground and by going into raft mode they're just trying to survive like everyone else.

"This is prevention from dying out during a flood," Pask said.

It's not only fire ants causing problems. There are a lot of snakes and alligators in Texas.

"I daresay when it's all over there will be no fatalities from alligators or venomous snakes," Clyde Peeling said.

Clyde Peeling of Clyde Peeling's Reptiland tells Newswatch 16 people are finding them on their doorsteps and in their yards.

"Generally they're more frightened of us and they want to get away whenever possible," Peeling said.

Both Peeling and Pask recommend leaving all of these animals alone to avoid problems.

10 comments

    • Bob Smith

      Houston is a sad history. That city built over swamplands and doesn’t have a zoning. It built near Bayous a bad idea too! Houston is same as New Orleans too. It’s really so ugly! It’s complicated to explain but, I’m glad I’m out but I’m San Antonian by generation.

  • Samsun

    What they need to do is get those flame thrower weed burners and set all them fire ants floating in the water on fire. Have something good come out of Harvey.

  • say_what?

    “No, this is not a fallen tree, it’s a colony of fire ants.” Actually it looks like a gator to me..did you have a pic of ants somewhere? it’s not on this page..

    • Bob Smith

      That picture of an alligator is a example. There are lot of swamplands around Houston same as New Orleans. If you haven’t seen Houston. It’s ugliest! No zoning. Places built around bayous a bad idea! Two reservoirs went overflow and more water went over levees too.
      Currently at Houston animal rescue center. They are taking care of fawns, rabbits, baby squirrels, possums, birds, hawks, and more! Until water recedes And dried up. All of them will release back to wild. And That city is taking to long to get water recedes since clay is in soil.

      • so_sad

        @bobsmith Thank you, he video wasn’t up at the time the story was first one here. Houston animal rescue center is doing a phenomenal job. I am watching on the news right now about animal rescues. So basically the soil is like a sponge.. Those fire ants are scary looking! I agree about building a place around bayous. We have rivers here and altho rarely would anything like this occur, we’ve had flooding where people lost their homes.

      • Bob Smith

        Houston needs to stop keep building and population growth including immigrants. City has sad history of flooding, poor drainage. Two reservoirs overflow and water went over levees too!
        Also too painful for me to look back in the past including hurricane Ike.

  • Bob Smith

    Yes, That’s true….. I’ve lived in Houston that built over swamplands. Loose alligators, snakes, floating fire ants, gasoline, and more….. Recently, I’ve checked out. A guy whose home was flooded inside. He caught a Catfish swimming around!

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