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Saturday, May 08, 2021

They move around, barely visible to the naked eye. In silence, they attack their victims and leave us in agonizing pain when all we want to do is get to class. No, not terrorists. We're talking about the newest sadistic wave taking over Gainesville.

Fire ants at Regional Transit System bus stops.

Students at several bus stops all over town have experienced that burning, tingling sensation - and not the good kind.

The fire ants that have taken over Gainesville and much of the southeastern United States are actually a species indigenous to South America. They probably came over in cargo shipments in the 1930s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The species is spreading, and we have no real way of stopping them. The ants can be controlled to an extent, but the process can be laborious - not to mention painful.

But why wait for RTS to correct the problem? You could chalk this up to a new life experience and use it for the better. What better way to practice the ants-in-the-pants dance, which you can show off this weekend at the downtown clubs? Or you could start a bet among your friends to see who can endure the most bites. The prizes could range from hot sauce to insect-bite ointment. And if you really hate your roommate, you could start an ant colony - in his or her bedroom.

But remember: If you stop riding the bus, the ants win.

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