Don’t fire ants bite? Why would you want to work with them?
They do bite.But they also have amazing properties when they join together.
We are investigating the properties of fire ant aggregations because fire ants form rafts. These rafts are formed entirely from fire ants. The rafts are used to survive flooding while keeping the entire colony together.
Fire ants can also from bridges and towers. All of these structures are build out of the same building block, the individual fire ant.
But fire ant aggregations also flow. They can drip and be poured from a teapot.
Fire ants display both liquid-like (pouring) and solid-like (raft) behavior.
Photo courtesy Tim Nowack Photography.