Crazy Rasberry Ants, also known as Rasberry Crazy Ants, are a new species of exotic ant. They were found in Houston, Texas in 2002. They are known to spread rapidly and are considered invasive. The ant falls into the Paratrechina family but has yet to be firmly identified with a particular subspecies. Little is known about them but research is continuing, and one such research paper can be found here. The definition of an invasive species can be found at this link.
What does a Crazy Raspberry Ant look like?
An image of this ant, and a video identification, can be found on the page given at the bottom of the article. Raspberry ants have a wide range of characteristics which include:
Of reddish-brown coloring, measuring about 1/8th of an inch.
Usually appear ‘en-masse’, possibly in the millions.
Follow foraging trails but may also forage randomly. Their movement tends to be an erratic crawl which led to the name ‘crazy’.
Colonies of these ants are usually found under rocks and timbers and in debris.
Raspberry Crazy Ants multiply quickly, have incredibly voracious appetites and are resistant to most forms of pest control.
Why are they considered invasive?
Large groups of Raspberry Crazy Ants can cause all kinds of problems. They have been found to congregate in electrical equipment which has caused shorting out and power outages, also equipment failure.
To people, these ants are more of a nuisance than a threat. People in the Houston area find they were unable o use their yards because of the sheer number of ants. Although Raspberry Crazy Ants don’t sting, they can bite. This can cause a sharp pain but does not have any lasting effects.
As yet, not much is known about the impact of these ants on wildlife. Where raspberry ants swarm in vast numbers it is likely that they affect ground and tree- nesting birds. If this species is related to crazy ants from the Caribbean, it is possible that they may drive out smaller animals and other ant species. This has been seen to happen already with fire ants being displaced by raspberry ants.
It appears that raspberry ants are being spread in household refuse, bags or trucks of compost, hay bales and potted plants. As they spread they may well affect agriculture, eating crops being a major concern.
What do I do if I think I have Raspberry Crazy Ants in my house?
Call in an exterminator. Raspberry Crazy Ants are resistant to the chemicals which are available for use by the general public. The exterminator will identify the ants and possibly send a sample for testing. After initial spraying, dead ants will need to be swept away before treating underlying surfaces.
More information and details can be found here.