The imported red fire ant is, like the nutria, an ecological pest originally from South America. The floods of Spring are a problem for many of the animals of Alligator Bayou, but not so for the fire ant. The entire colony of ants abandon their mound when floods arrive. They then bind together into a ball that floats on the flood waters until the ants drift to higher ground. The ants within this living, seething mass reposition themselves so that no ant is left underwater for too long. Landowners sometimes take advantage of this strategy to control ant populations. If detergent is sprayed on and around the mass of ants, the surface tension of the water is weakened to the point that the entire mass sinks and drowns.