‘UCF’s Fire Ant King’ featured on FOX

Recently, ‘UCF’s Ant King’, Joshua King, was featured on FOX for his work with fire ants. Tom Johnson, of FOX35, interviewed King about his fascination with fire ants, how fire ants came to Florida, and even a few tips on killing the pests. Below is the full video and article on Joshua King from FOX35.

FOX 35 News Orlando

When University of Central Florida biologist Josh King looks at a field, he sees it a little differently than others. He can certainly tell you about the flora and fauna, but his focus is actually down at shovel level.

That’s because Josh is one of the nation’s foremost experts on fire ants. His research has actually earned him the nickname “Fire Ant King.”

“I’ve developed an allergy to fire ants over the years, because I’ve been stung so many times,” he said.

There are no fire ants in Maine, where he grew up, but he moved to Florida for his Ph.D. and became fascinated with fire ant history and what makes them tick

The fire ants were brought into the united states at Mobile, Alabama in the 1930s inside South American ornamental plants.

“By the time that we get to the 1960s, 1970s, they had spread throughout Florida and then over to Texas,” he explained. “We are the reason why they’re here,” he said. “We have no one else to blame but ourselves for fire ants!”

Dr. King said we continue inviting them into our lives with development.

“When we do things like convert forest into pasture or into our yards, we are, in fact, creating spaces that the fire ants do very well in.”

Bare, hot land, with little shade is fire ant heaven!

“They are most common and most abundant in the places where we live.”

Most people want advice on how to get rid of fire ants. The only tips Dr. King would share is that most fire ant baits on the market are pretty good, and boiling is the most effective way to kill them.

“Probably need about 10 or 15 gallons of boiling, or near-boiling water, but it’s very effective.”

It kills the whole colony immediately, but make no mistake, they will probably come back.


The “Ant King’s” Fire Ant Research

The “Ant King’s” Laboratory

Nat’l Science Foundation Video About UCF’s “Ant King”

To view the original story from FOX35, click here.

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