Crazy Ants Move Thru Texas!

obeygiant

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 14, 2002
4,010
3,780
totally cool
Houston braces for invasion of 'Crazy Ants'

This is one horror film plot that may be all too real: Billions of voracious ants are about to descend on the Houston area, destroying entire homes and anything else that gets in their way.

Rasberry Crazy Ants, even more destructive and mobile than their angry cousins, fire ants, are just weeks away from descending on the largest city in Texas. Since 2008, the ants, which entomologists believe came to Texas from South America aboard a cargo ship in the 1930s, have expanded their presence to 27 counties from just eight. Once in a home, they zero in on electrical systems, chewing through insulation and causing short circuits and general havoc.

“I’ve been in houses where every time you took a step you’d literally be stepping on thousands of ants with each step,” exterminator Tom Rasberry says.

The hairy, reddish-brown ant is named after Rasberry because he was the first one to spot the insect in a Houston suburb in 2002. The ant, also known as the Tawny Crazy Ant, is even known to fight the fierce-stinging fire ant, another Texas scourge. Dormant until late April, Rasberry Crazy Ants thrive as temperatures heat up, prompting fears of a new advance in the coming weeks.

Other crazy ant swarms have been spotted in 20 counties in Florida and locations in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Rasberry said the ants get into everything, including electrical equipment. They’ve ruined laptops, water pumps and gas meters.

“They’ve gotten into electronic systems in chemical plants and shorted-out equipment that forced the plants to shut down entire units,” Rasberry said.

NASA's Houston headquarters had a crazy ant infestation a few years ago.

Rasberry said crazy ants reproduce so quickly that in no time a one-acre field can be covered by 15 to 20 billion ants.

Crazy ants don’t sting or bite like fire ants. But that makes them no less of a threat, said Rasberry.

“When all is said and done, I guarantee you, you’d rather have the fire ants because they are much easier to deal with,” Rasberry said.

The credibility of this article can neither be confirmed nor denied.
 

dXTC

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2006
2,032
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Up, up in my studio, studio
Consider the article's information confirmed. These are also known as tawny crazy ants, and they have evolved a natural defense against fire ant venom.

Also, crazy ant colonies have multiple queens that cooperate; if one queen dies, the workers simply move their primary allegiance to the nearest cooperating queen. Thus, all queens must be exterminated simultaneously.

Phorid flies, introduced as a parasite species to control fire ant populations, are too species-specific and are useless against crazy ants.

Having lived in Central Florida around fire ants (and having experienced their rather painful bite), I'm impressed that exterminators are more concerned about this species that can't harm humans directly.
 

Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,119
1,254
Always a day away
I've read that these things can actually drive off colonies of fire ants.

Think about that.

Anybody who's ever had a run-in with fire ants should be quite impressed by that fact.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,263
16,955
The Misty Mountains
I hate ants.

And spiders.

And... bugs.
I like both as long as they are not in my house. If I see and am able to catch a spider, I usually toss it outside. Ants get sprayed. Every so often I find a lizard in the house and am especially gentle with them as I evict them. :)