Odisha: Red ants invade Puri district; force families to leave village
Following the receding of the flood waters, lakhs of red and fire ants infested the Brahmansahi village in the Chandradeipur panchayat area, prompting scientists from Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) and the district administration to launch the operation, according to the official.
Poisonous ants infested a village in Odisha's Puri district, forcing many residents to flee, officials said on Tuesday. After flood waters receded, lakhs of red and fire ants infested the Brahmansahi village in the Chandradeipur panchayat area, prompting scientists from Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) and the district administration to launch the operation, the official added.
Swarms of ants infested every nook and cranny of the village, including houses, roads, fields, and trees, causing normal life to grind to a halt. These ants have beaten many people, causing swelling and skin irritation.
Domestic animals and house lizards have also succumbed to the ants. Villagers are forced to draw circles with pesticide powders wherever they sit, stand, or sleep.
According to locals, three families from the village have fled due to the ant infestation and are staying with relatives.
Loknath Dash, a villager, said he had never seen anything like this before, despite previous floods in the village.
"The ants have made our lives a living hell. We can't eat, sleep, or sit properly. The children are unable to study because they are afraid of ants," said Renubala Dash, who is currently staying at a relative's house in a nearby village with her family.
According to Sanjay Mohanty, a senior OUAT scientist, the village is surrounded by a river and dense forests. "As flood waters inundated their habitats, the ants that live on the river embankment and in the bushes moved to the village." Mohanty described it as a new phenomenon in the village of around 100 families.
"However, we are attempting to locate the source of the ants. Once the location has been determined, the pesticide can be sprayed within a two-metre radius," he stated.
"To end the threat, we must first locate and eliminate the queen ants. They are to blame for the outbreak of red and fire ants in the area," he continued. Mohanty stated that ant samples had been sent to the laboratory to determine their species.
According to Block Development Officer (BDO) Rashmita Nath, such ants are not new to the area, but no one expected them to disrupt everyday life.
Although people have complained of skin irritation and swelling due to ant bites, she claims that no one has been hospitalised. "When I went to the village, I discovered ants everywhere. The residents did their best but couldn't drive the ants away," she stated. The officer further stated that bushes would be cleaned and insecticides would be sprayed.
She also stated that medical teams are visiting the village to treat the victims. A similar incident occurred in Danda village in the Sadar block of the district after cyclone Phailin in 2013, according to a scientist.
(With inputs from PTI)