They are just one-eight of an inch in size, but these tiny red ants called "Crazy Raspberry Ants" are driving people in Houston, Texas - well, a little crazy! Nobody knows where they came from, but they are invading homes and yards by the billions.
The ants are called 'crazy" because they do not walk in a single file like other ants, but run around helter-skelter. They got the name "rasberry" from the man pictured here. He is an exterminator called Tom Rasberry, who was one of the first persons to try get rid of them.
Scientist believe that the ants, who were first seen in Texas a few years ago arrived in a cargo shipment from overseas, possibly the Caribbean, where similar ants have been seen.
The good news is that these ants eat fire ants: ants that sting human beings and are very common in Texas during summer. However, they also suck plant juices and feed on good insects like ladybugs.
The worst part however is that they seem to love electrical equipment. They are messing up computers, causing fire alarms to malfunction and shorting out electrical boxes.
The ants are resistant to normal household ant sprays. They also seem to be pretty smart. They don't take bait that is left in traps and when some of them do die, the survivors pile them up and use their bodies as a bridge to get across to surfaces free of pesticide. Even exterminators are having a hard time getting rid of them.
These pesky little ants are becoming such a serious problem that the Department of Agriculture is working with researchers from Texas A&M University and the Environmental Protection Agency to try figure out what to do! We hope they are able to get rid of them before they spread to other parts of the country!
Sources: Dallas Morning News, Physorg.com, ChicagoTribune.org