SALT LAKE CITY — Hurricane Florence has led to massive damage and destruction across the Carolinas.
It has also created a floating island of fire ants.
NBC News correspondent Gadi Schwartz shared a video on Twitter of fire ants floating together on the floodwaters in North Carolina after several inches of rain flooded the area.
“Millions and millions of fire ants forming islands and floating on floodwaters,” he said in his tweet.
Tim Davis, an entomologist and senior extension agent with Clemson University, said fire ants escape in clumps to avoid the floods, according to USA Today.
The ants can form an island in two minutes.
“If the water rises, they kind of all grab ahold of each other, and they can do this for several days, until they reach higher ground,” Davis said.5 comments on this story
Adrian Allen Smith, a research biologist and head of the Evolutionary Biology & Behavior Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, agreed.
“Fire ants typically float until they hit dry land, and when you have widespread flooding, they will float for days. If no land can be found, they will float indefinitely. That’s when you get reports of people bumping into them,” he told The Charlottesville Observer.
Smith said fire ants are “vulnerable and in a defense mode” when they float in search of a new home.