Houston We Have a Problem: Crazy Ants Have Invaded!

Photographically enlarged crazy ants. Image from Joe Lencioni

Millions of crazy rasberry (yes, that’s what they’re called, no, it’s not a misspelling) ants are swarming over Houston, annoying residents and choking electronics that aren’t prepared to ward off tiny invaders. The ants, named after the exterminator Tom Rasberry, who in Texas waged the first (unsuccessful) fight against them in 2000, are about the size of a flea and have currently spread to five counties in the area.

The ants are an invasive pest, probably entering the port of Houston from the Carribean, where they’re widely found and known simply as “crazy ants.” While they’re not completely understood, it is known that they are attracted to electronics and that they eat fire ants; the giants with painful bites that anyone who grew up in the American south knows to treat with caution.

Thank goodness there are some benefits to the creatures establishing themselves! According to the expert entomologists employed by the state of Texas, it’s long past the point that the invaders could be repulsed.

That’s not stopping exterminators of course, who have noticed that the crazy ants are immune to typical poisons and have begin to pester the EPA for permission to use more powerful pesticides. That might lead to be a catastrophic decision – therefore its entirely likely to be approved by the Bush-era EPA, due to the widespread use of chemicals that have a dangerously long residual effect.