Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Fire Ants essays

Fire Ants essays In the sunny state of Florida, you cant go anywhere without finding fire ants. They pop up inside as well as out, forming giant mounds, invading homes and even cars. Every Floridian knows what they look like; the full grown adults are reddish to dark brown. The male of the species can be either a minor worker (about 1/8 inch long), a major worker (about 1/4 inch long), or a winged ant. The females are each about 1/3 of an inch long, except the queen who can grow much larger. Fire ant mounds vary in size, usually in proportion to the size of the colony. For example, a mound that is 2 feet in diameter and 18 inches high may contain about 100,000 workers, several hundred winged adults, and one queen. When the mound of an active colony is broken open, you can see whitish rice grain-like larvae and pupae as well as the hundreds of displaced workers scurrying around. These immature ants will eventually develop into workers or winged adults. Mounds constructed in clay soils are usually symm etrical and dome-shaped; mounds built in sandy soils tend to be irregularly shaped. Now, one would think that, given the plethora fire ants in Florida, that they were a native creature. However, Solenopsis Invicta (as they are scientifically named) is actually an exotic species that have their origins in Brazil. They are expected to have traveled to the US in ship ballast water (as are many exotic species), and were first spotted in Mobile, Alabama in the mid-1930s. By the end of 1939, it had infested 9 counties in Alabama and 3 in Mississippi. Over the last 76 years, fire ants (which thrive on sunshine and dug-up soil) are now found in every Florida county, have spread to over nine southern states, and over 275 million acres within the United States. Man-assisted movement is probably responsible for large-scale "jumps" in ant infestations. Fire ants also travel by means of swarming, walking or floating, though this occurs in small increments ...

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