Rising Sea Levels Mean Fire Ants Of The Future Will Be Bigger And Meaner

A new study finds fire ants that float in floodwaters are more aggressive, and their venom is more potent.

By Jill AmentApril 29, 2020 1:16 pm,

A new study from Louisiana State University finds that fire ants of the future will be bigger, more aggressive and more venomous.  Flooding caused by rising sea levels is partly to blame.

Linda Hooper-Bùi is a wetland ecologist at LSU, and lead author of the study. She first noticed more aggressive fire ant activity after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“People were coming in with these rashes that people just couldn’t explain,” Hooper-Bùi told Texas Standard host David Brown on Wednesday. “They had so many stings [and] the welts were gigantic compared to what we were normally seeing; this started a 15-year journey in looking at fire ants.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How fire ants travel, and how floating makes them more aggressive

– What impact flooding has on fire ant activity

– How dangerous fire ants are to people

– What people can do to avoid aggressive fire ants

Web story by Shelly Brisbin.


If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on texasstandard.org and KUT.org. Thanks for donating today.