Monday, May 25, 2009

Texas Government Propagates Zombies


Ha. Got your attention now, don’t I? Good because it’s true, though not in the sense you’re thinking. I’m talking fire ant zombies, not people. And the government is doing this by way of parasitic phorid flies.

The flies are native to South America and introducing them into Texas to help control the fire ant population is USDA approved. They do not attack any native ant species, not that has been documented thus far and they’ve been in use for over ten years.

Here’s how it works. The flies bite and lay an egg in the ant. The larvae then feasts upon the ant’s brain as it grows, eventually consuming the entire thing. That’s the point where the ant becomes a zombie. Once its brain is gone it wanders aimlessly for a few weeks until the maggot outgrows its host, causing its head to pop off. This allows the fly to emerge to go on to continue the cycle.

So far the Texas government has introduces four different varieties of phorid flies. They’ve been tracking their progress and flies are now widely found in the south. This won’t eliminate fire ants entirely but hopefully it will keep the ants in check.

Um, okay. Definitely interesting. But how are they so sure the flies won’t mutate and become compatible with other hosts, say people for instance? I wonder how you know if you've been bitten by one and have one growing inside you?

No blog tomorrow. Stuff to do. I’ll be back Wednesday. Until then, beware tiny flies trying to roost in your ears.

7 comments:

Sandra Cox said...

Yikes sounds pretty sci fi

Anny Cook said...

Only you would think up flies roosting in your ears! Hopefully, they'll stick with the fireants!

barbara huffert said...

It goes with the spiders nesting in my jaw.

Amber Skyze said...

Eeeewwwww, sounds like a future horror flick!

Taylor Tryst said...

So sick, B...only you! ROFLMAO

Regina Carlysle said...

Oh Holy Mary! As a Texan I must ask...where the HELL do I get some of those flies???!!!!! I could actually sit in my backyard and toast them with my cool beverage as they make our fire ants' brains explode. Love it.

barbara huffert said...

Regina, I think if you contact your local Ag Center they might be able to hook you up with some. The article I read mentioned they needed sites volunteered to release the flies.