“This is one of the reasons why you should avoid walking through flood water,” the tweet read. “Floating ant piles – like this one found at Countryside Park – can form and be very dangerous.”
Beta, which made landfall late Monday near Port O’Connor, Texas, weakened to a tropical depression Tuesday as it dumped up to 14 inches of rain in parts of greater Houston.
One region in Brazoria County south of Houston saw nearly 18 inches of precipitation since Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm, which forced forecasters to use the Greek alphabet for just the second time since the 1950s because it ran out of names in the busy hurricane season, was expected to move inland along the coast over Texas through Wednesday.
It isn’t the first time Texans have seen fire ants banding together to survive flooding, KTRK reports. The insects, also known as red ants, were spotted by some Houston residents during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Footage showed the ants forming “floating mats” to escape floodwaters at Brazos Bend State Park near Houston three years ago, the station reported.
The ants first came to the US from Argentina during the 1930s — likely as cargo stowaways — and quickly spread to Florida, Louisiana, Florida, Texas and later California, Science reported in 2011.
The ants, which can build rafts consisting of up to 500,000 insects, sting up to 5 million people per year and send 25,000 to the hospital, Smithsonian Magazine reported in 2017.