Watch The Incredible Way Fire Ants Save Themselves From Rising Flood Water
So, it turns out fire ants are really, really, clever.
Fire ants are notorious mother-flippers. When put in contact with human skin, they can cause the type of pain that'll make even the toughest of nuts sob like a baby. But did you know that fire ants are also pretty nifty when it comes to crafting boats? Seriously...we're not even joking.
As flood waters continue to cause havoc across South Carolina, media types have been heading to the area to find out what's been happening. Photojournalist Chris Murray, who was shooting for WSAV in Dorchester County, managed to record this footage of thousands of fire ants coming together and floating on the water like a tiny raft (made of ants). It's the type of footage that makes our mouths drop in astonishment.
We've done some reading on this, and it turns out that fire ants are able to assemble themselves like this in less than two minutes. When done correctly, like it is here, the process can save whole colonies of ants from getting wiped out. Fire ants release an oily substance which helps them join together and this, combined with their hydrophobic exoskeletons, makes floating on the water possible.
Experts pinpoint stuff like this as an example of swarm intelligence in action. While individual ants might not be the sharpest knives in the cutlery drawer, when they work together they can come up with ingenious solutions to life-threatening problems. Tim Davis, an entomologist, had this to say about the remarkable fire ant raft: "...they can do this for several days, until they reach higher ground."