The Zombie Ants are Coming

Well it’s finally happened. The ants have risen from the grave to take their revenge on mankind for years of abuse and mistreatment. Hope you're happy!

Alright that isn’t 100% true, but researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M's AgriLife Extension Service have found a way to make “zombie ants”. Their goal in the research was to find a way to control the population of the fire ant which is apparently running amok down in the lone star state. What they discovered was the tiny Phorid fly will actually lay eggs inside the ants heads. Eventually a maggot hatches and begins to eat the ants brain. Creepy yes, but it gets worse. Apparently even for a short while after the brain has been eaten the ants will wander around aimlessly, feasting on the blood of humans! Ok, that last part is a lie. After they’ve had all their fun the ant's head will fall of and they die at which point the fly comes out and the cycle begins a new. It’s a real shitty way to go but it’s the circle of life my friends, ask Elton John.

Now before everyone gets all up in arms about researchers sitting around spending taxpayers money on making insect horror movies it should be noted that fire ants cost the Texas economy about $1 billion annually by damaging circuit breakers and other electrical equipment. "It's a tool — they're not going to completely wipe out the fire ant, but it's a way to control their population," said Scott Ludwig , an integrated pest management specialist with the AgriLife Extension Service in Overton, in East Texas. According to reports the Phorid fly has no interest in any other insect but the fire ant so everyone else is safe.

It could take up to ten years to know if using the Phorid fly is a successful way of controlling the population of the fire ants but initial tests look promising. I’m still a bit confused as to how trading a bunch of ants for a bunch of flies is an improvement but I’m sure someone has thought of that. In any case lock your doors people, the zombie ants are coming.

Source: mcclatchydc.com

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