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“Crazy ants”

Um, ew?

In what sounds like a really low-budget horror film, voracious swarming ants that apparently arrived in Texas aboard a cargo ship are invading homes and yards across the Houston area, shorting out electrical boxes and messing up computers.

The hairy, reddish-brown creatures are known as “crazy rasberry ants” — crazy, because they wander erratically instead of marching in regimented lines, and “rasberry” after Tom Rasberry, an exterminator who did battle against them early on.

“They’re itty-bitty things about the size of fleas, and they’re just running everywhere,” said Patsy Morphew of Pearland, who is constantly sweeping them off her patio and scooping them out of her pool by the cupful. “There’s just thousands and thousands of them. If you’ve seen a car racing, that’s how they are. They’re going fast, fast, fast. They’re crazy.”

The ants — formally known as “paratrenicha species near pubens” — have spread to five Houston-area counties since they were first spotted in Texas in 2002.

The newly recognized species is believed to have arrived in a cargo shipment through the port of Houston. Scientists are not sure exactly where the ants came from, but their cousins, commonly called crazy ants, are found in the Southeast and the Caribbean.

“At this point, it would be nearly impossible to eradicate the ant because it is so widely dispersed,” said Roger Gold, a Texas A&M University entomologist.

The good news? They eat fire ants, the stinging red terrors of Texas summers.

That’s a relief, because apparently they’re hard to kill, can cause problems due to their attraction to electrical charges, and stack their dead to cross safely over places that have been sprayed with pesticides. Did I already say “ew”? Because I think I need to say it again.

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2 Comments

  1. Patty says:

    Charles,

    Wouldn’t it be great if they kill off the fire ants and then we figure out how to get rid of the crazy rasberry ants?

    Pink

  2. progrocks says:

    wow, finally a way Tom Delay can help Houston. The man has the experience necessary to help Houston through this troubled time. Tom, back to the pest business, you are our only hope.