Invasion of the Rasberry Crazy Ant
No, it’s not a fruit-flavored gummy snack or exotic cocktail. The raspberry crazy ant is a real insect, and it is quickly becoming a threat to large regions of the U.S.
So What is It?A crazy ant is a subspecies of ant, so named because they walk in wild, erratic paths rather than a straight line. This gives them the impression of being confused or “crazy.” Though it’s not clear what causes this behavior, it’s not thought to be due to any sort of disease or defect.
In almost every other way, crazy ants are quite similar to regular ants. They’re omnivorous hive insects, meaning they eat almost anything and live in colonies of many thousands. They reproduce incredibly quickly and can take over an area in very short order. Luckily, they don’t pose much of a direct threat to people. However, they’re still incredibly persistent and pesky pests.
Why “Rasberry”The name of this particular species of ant has nothing to do with the raspberry fruit or its color (the ant itself is actually a reddish brown). Instead, it’s named after the exterminator who first noticed them: Tom Rasberry.
Rasberry Crazy Ants and ElectronicsRasberry crazy ants have become notorious for targeting electronic wiring and devices. Though it’s not uncommon for ants, termites, and other insects to dig in to wires and cables, the rasberry ants do it much more frequently. No one knows exactly why this is yet, though some speculate the bugs may be attracted to magnetic fields.
Regardless, this makes the ants even more obnoxious than usual. If they come across wires or cables outdoors, you can expect them the start gnawing away when the opportunity arises. If an ant gets electrocuted by its chewing, it emits pheromones that will summon more ants to attack the cable. If enough ants to this, they can short circuit almost anything. If they get into your house, they can easily climb into your computer, television, and other appliances and ruin them.
The problem became such an issue that at one point the ants were even threatening the electronics at NASA’s facilities in Texas. You can imagine the damage the bugs could do if they infiltrated NASA’s massive network of electronics and wiring. NASA called in (who else?) Tom Rasberry to exterminate the insects before they could do any damage.