It seems like we’ve been covering zombie bugs a lot lately. The newest story comes from Texas, where researchers are trying out a new form of pest control on invasive fire ants: using parasitic flies to lay eggs in the ants brains, zombify them, and then explode their heads with emerging larvae. Seems reasonable.
We’re under attack!
Researchers at Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension Service in Overton, in East Texas are experimenting by releasing four different species of phorid flies (a native predator of fire ants from their native South America) into fire ants’ new habitats. The flies apparently “dive bomb” the ants, and lay eggs inside of them. The fly larvae then move into the ants’ brains, hollowing them out. The ants wander aimlessly for two weeks like zombies, essentially without brains, until the larvae burst out of their heads like the Kool-Aid guy through the wall of your living room when you were a kid.
What do we want? Braaaaiiins! How are we going to get them? Braaaaiiins!
While the results have been promising, it may take more than a decade to determine if the flies have any real effect. Hmmm…I wonder if there’s a fly that zombifies and explodes the heads of Texans. I could DEFINITELY find a market for that.