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Mites cause mighty problem on Oklahoma road

MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE Modified: July 3, 2009 at 7:14 am •  Published: July 3, 2009
ENID — Mites that feed off canola plants are to blame for creating hazardous road conditions Monday on State Highway 132 west of Enid.

Garfield County sheriff’s deputy Troy Bush said millions of the mites swarmed on the road, causing a hazardous spot about a quarter-mile long.

"The ground was moving,” Bush said. "It reminded me of special effects in a movie.”

Bush responded to a report of an accident caused by "millions of ants crossing the road” at the intersection. He said an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper also responded after the troop headquarters in Enid received calls about the bugs.

"Basically, everyone thought it was a joke,” the deputy said.

The Drummond Fire Department was contacted to hose down the road, but after that more calls were received about the "ants.” When Drummond firefighters arrived, they thought there had been a chemical spill because of a slight residue on the road.

The bugs were determined to be mites that feed on canola plants.

A field of canola along the highway had been harvested that day. The state Transportation Department was called to the area and lightly sanded the slick portion of the road for the safety of drivers.

The slick spot was caused by the mites consuming the canola plants, which are used to produce canola oil.