Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chemical warfare

Rising of the ants.
Those pesky fire ants in your back yard may have met their match

There's an arms race going on underground, maybe right under your feet. And our relatively new 'crazy ants' are whipping the familiar fire ants we've dealt with for so long.

These two kinds of ants are fighting each other over food and nesting sites across the southeastern United States. And the crazy ants have come up with a defensive weapon.

"What they do is spray formic acid, which neutralizes the venom of fire ants," says LSU entomologist, Dr. Gregg Henderson.

They smear their own brand of venom on their bodies after being hit with venom by a fire ant foe, successfully detoxifying themselves.
This is useful information.  Renewed concerns about the whole of Southeast Louisiana sinking into the ocean at the arrival of the next major hurricane may have you reviewing your contingency plans in case of things such as floating balls of fire ants, for example.  

Now we know what to do. If you are bitten by a fire ant, just rub some crazy ants on it.

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