Are you ready for the ant invasion? For more than 80 years, the Solenopsis Invicta ant species has been on a ceaseless march across the United States, racking up six billion dollars every year in crop damage, equipment repair, and pest control.
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They have conquered more than 530 000 square miles in 13 U.S. states and killed at least 80 people. Emboldened, they continue their global invasion. Now, scientists are cracking the ants’ ancient secrets to success, enlisting crime scene forensics to track it, and breeding winged assassins to hunt them down.
Since they first hitched a ride from their native South America to Alabama in the 1930s, the fire ants empire has spread to at least 11 countries as far-flung as the Caribbean, New Zealand and Taiwan. Part of their global success is their astounding ability to organise into fabric-like rafts that can float on water for months. Like us, they are also are highly social, organised and communicate amongst each other. What can we learn from them and how can we stop the expansion of these destructive creatures?
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Michael Watchulonis – Ref. 5767