April 2-May 29: Faced with repeated complaints about fire ant infestations in buildings abutting the quad, Landscape Services repeatedly poisons anthills in the large grassy area using both commercially available products and those sourced from professional exterminators.

May 29: In preparation for the three-day holiday weekend, and in acknowledgement of the lack of recent complaints, Landscape Services ceases its poisoning campaign against the fire ants on the quad.

June 1: Returning students report an “odd” structure in the middle of the quad. Analysis of cell phone photographs shows a small anthill with uncharacteristic “holes.” Landscape Services takes no action, as the observations are not complaints and many employees remain on vacation.

June 2: The first reports of invasive fire ants in buildings bordering the quad come in. Landscape Services dispatches fresh poison; workers report that the anthill has grown to nearly a foot tall and is made of a material that resists crushing. Landscape Services delivers the poison, but the crew is severely stung in the process.

June 3
: Members of the Landscape Services ground crew are rushed to the hospital in anaphylactic shock due to lingering effects from fire ant stings. The remaining employees refuse to venture onto the quad to lay more poison, which seems to have had no effect.

June 4
: The first deaths occur from allergic reactions among the initial ground crew. A commercial exterminator is contracted, and entomology experts are brought in. The structure on the quad is now approximately three feet tall. Buildings with an infestation are closed, and the quad is roped off.

June 6: Entomologists at the state agricultural annex, after examining the ants, report that they seem to have developed a resistance to most commonly used pesticides. Furthermore, a form of hardened mound-building most commonly seen in tropical termites appeared to have spontaneously evolved in the local fire ant population–explaining the 6-foot tall structure that now dominated the quad.

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