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PCs are being infested by ants that eat thermal paste

PC gamers in the US report that imported red fire ants are occupying their PCs, and eating their components.

Nvidia GPU with red imported fire ants

The next time you notice your GPU temperature going higher than usual, it might be worth checking for ants in your PC, and then employing your friendly local aardvark. PC gamers in the US have been reporting incidents of fire ants crawling over their PCs, with one user on Reddit sharing photos of a graphics card infested with them.

If you’ve spent a lot of money on the best graphics card you can find for your budget, it’s fair to say that you won’t want an ant colony treating it as a home, but that’s what happening to some PC gamers, with Reddit user Thejus_Parol sharing several photos of a Zotac Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card being occupied by them.

Not only were the ants crawling in and out of the graphics card, but after disassembling the unit, this gamer found that they were even eating the thermal pads and paste. “I had to use a hairdryer to blow them out of there,” said the post, and it’s not easy to get rid of these ants once they find a home they like either.

Ants inside a graphics card

Despite cleaning the whole PC with isopropyl alcohol, and using anti-bug spray on the table, the Reddit poster says that “later, another set of ants appeared in the exact same place, doing the exact same thing, eating my GPU alive.”

My CPU/GPU got infested by ants when I was gone for a month. I played games and ran benchmarks so they would come out cos of heat. Also left my pc running overnight but they still inside. Help
byu/lazylollipop inpcmasterrace

This isn’t the first reported incident of ants invading PCs either, with the above video of them crawling round an AIO cooler and Sapphire Nitro+ graphics card appearing in the past, as well as other incidents.

Originally from South America, imported red fire ants have become an invasive problem in the US, where they’re an invasive species. Studies have shown them to be attracted to electric fields, with the ants congregating in areas where electronic switches were open, and then dispersing if the electricity was switched off. The situation is exacerbated by the behavior of ants when they get shocked by electrical equipment, as they then wag their abdomens in the air, releasing pheromones that in turn attract more ants to the area.

As one Redditor points out in the thread, it’s notoriously hard to get rid of these ants once they’ve made their home, and your best bet may well be to call out an exterminator, and secure your PC in an air tight bag for a couple of weeks.