Literal bugs in NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card: Red ants invade a PC and 'eat the GPU alive'

Red fire ants are a real nightmare, as they're attracted to electronics - and literally ate a GPU, or bits of it, alive. Not for the first time, either...

2 minutes & 6 seconds read time

File this under 'w' for worrying, but a Redditor has reported an invasion of red fire ants inside their PC, with the insects apparently eating the GPU alive, we're told.

Honey, I shrunk the kids and they ate the GPU's thermal paste (Image Credit: Thejus_Parol on Reddit)

Honey, I shrunk the kids and they ate the GPU's thermal paste (Image Credit: Thejus_Parol on Reddit)

The story goes like this: Redditor Thejus_Parol says that they noticed rising GPU temperatures with their Zotac GTX 1060.

When investigating what might be going on, checking if the fans could have malfunctioned, they discovered "ants marching on my GPU and on top of my case" and even coming out of the graphics card's heatsink.

Taking apart the graphics card revealed that red imported fire ants, which aren't native to the US, were inside and eating the thermal pads and thermal paste.

The Redditor used a hair dryer to blow all the ants out of the board, cleaned their PC, and then used an anti-insect spray on the table the computer sits on.

Thejus_Parol explains that they have no idea how the ants got into the PC, and that they just seemed to appear out of nowhere. The even worse news was that the anti-insect spray seemed completely ineffective in deterring another invasion, as later on, another set of ants moved into the PC.

And the second wave of ants was doing the exact same thing, eating bits of the GPU alive (that thermal paste is pretty tasty, by all accounts).

Unwanted antics

The advice from fellow Redditors seems to be to get the professionals in, as this particular kind of ants can eat all your electronics. And they are difficult to get rid of, by all accounts - the whole scenario sounds like a bit of a nightmare.

As PC GamesN, which spotted this, pointed out, this isn't the first time this type of invasion has happened to an unfortunate PC owner. There's another thread on Reddit describing the same sort of scenario from a few years back.

If you end up facing an ant army swarming your PC in the future, the best thing to do - before seeking help from professional bug exterminators - is to switch off the computer.

Ants can cause shorts and that could lead to your components getting fried, one way or another. Not a risk you want to chance, so keep the PC powered off, maybe bag it up or otherwise seal the device away, until your pest problem can (hopefully) be dealt with. Although even professional exterminators can have serious trouble with these red ants, from some of the anecdotes shared.

We're told these red ants are nomadic, so another strategy might be to turn off everything electrical in your house, and live by candlelight for a few weeks until they move on to find pastures greener (or less green, rather).

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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