In Odisha, a mega operation was launched by administration to destroy ant habitats after villagers in Puri were forced to flee the village out of fear of red ants. Such has been the red ant infestation in the village that people are no longer able to carry out their day-to-day activities, elders are fearful of stepping outside, and children are unable to properly study due to fear of ant stings.
According to reports, hundreds of thousands of red ants and fire ants have infested villages near Puri district in Odisha following which scientists and district administration launched an operation to eliminate ant habitats. The ants have infested every visible corner of the Brahmansahi village and even houses, roads, and school rooms have not been spared.
“All of a sudden we found these red ants everywhere. We are unable to eat, sleep or sit properly due to these ants and their stings are very painful. The children are unable to study due to the fear of ants,” a local was quoted in a TOI report.
While local administration and villagers are making efforts to eliminate ant habitats, experts have claimed that such efforts may well be in vain. Until the queen and larvae are not destroyed, it is not easy to keep a check on ant population, experts suggest.
The Facts of the Matter
Over 4 lakh people were adversely affected due to the Odisha floods 2022. However, a strange aftermath of the floods is unfolding currently. As the flood waters recede, hundreds of thousands of red and fire ants have infested the Brahmansahi village in Puri district of Odisha.
The infestation of ants is so intense and dramatic, that several families in the villages have already fled the region out of fear. After over a month of dealing with the increasing infestation, an operation has been launched by locals to eliminate all the ant habitats.
“Not easy”: Experts Suggest to Look Out for Queen Ant
Meanwhile, experts have suggested that such a dramatic step against the infestation is an option. According to Sanjay Kumar Mohanty, entomologist and scientist at Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), the red ants shift their homes to some other pace after coming out of the holes.
“The ant infestation will be checked soon they make their new homes in a day or two or killing them is an option. Unless the queen ant and larvae are destroyed it is not easy to check the population,” Mr. Sajay was quoted saying.
Locals Living in Abject Fear of Ants
The infestation has caused fear among locals who have been bitten by the red ants and fire ants. The stings can cause irritation, rashes, and swelling in humans and animals both. While no one has yet been hospitalized, medical teams have been deployed to treat the bitten people.
Villager Gives Account of Ant Infestation
Many families have already left the village and have moved to nearby villages. Loknath Dash, a villager who moved out, was quoted by PTI saying, “The red ants have made our lives miserable. We are unable to eat, sleep or sit properly. The children are unable to study due to the fear of ants.”
Lokhnath also mentioned that although his village had been hit earlier by floods, he hasn’t seen such serious ant infestation.