Archive for January 6th, 2009

Crazy Ants: What’s in a Name?

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

They have names like Pharaoh, sugar, and fire. And now we have another name for one of their kind: crazy.

Crazy ants are very erratic and fast moving. So, they act like they’re crazy, essentially.

Mike Quinn, an invertebrate biologist, says the Rasberry crazy ant, named after the Texas exterminator who identified it in 2002, has covered a lot of ground.

It’s already spread to the Louisiana border, and may already be beyond. Crazy ants are tropical ants that need temperatures and high high humidity. So, the conditions are favorable from Houston, back to Florida. And it could easily spread through that whole region in somewhat short order.

We know very little about this alien species.

We do not know how it got here. We do not know where it came from. We do not know much of its biology. We are truly at the beginning stages of understanding this ant.

What we do know is the species has multiple queens, and produces super colonies of millions of ants. Typical of ants, they’re drawn to electrical devices…with potentially devastating results.

They can shut down chemical facilities. They can potentially shut down an airport. They can shut down NASA. This ant is something to be reckoned with.

More about crazy ants tomorrow.

That’s out show…for Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.