Speed Reads

the stuff of nightmares

Huge clumps of fire ants are floating around Houston's flooded streets

There might not be any sharks swimming down the Houston freeway, but there are massive clusters of fire ants floating in the flood waters. Apparently floods are an ideal mode of transportation for the ants, which are capable of clumping together to form what The Atlantic described as "living rafts."

To survive, the ants float around in globs until they once again reach dry ground. "They actually love floods," Alex Wild, curator of entomology at University of Texas at Austin, told The Atlantic. "It's how they get around."

And in case floating mats of fire ants weren't terrifying enough, the flooding makes the fire ants "more aggressive and dangerous," The Atlantic reported. In fact, a 2011 study found that flooded fire ants "have 165 percent as much venom inside them as normal fire ants," making their already awful bites particularly brutal.

These vicious flooded ants have an unexpected enemy though: dish soap. "Dawn is a not a registered insecticide, but it will break up the surface tension and they will sink," advised Louisiana State University entomologist Linda Bui.

Learn more about the fire ants rafting around Houston at The Atlantic.