Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Planet Earth

Super Ants Attack Texas Electronics

DiscoblogBy Melissa LafskyMay 15, 2008 10:21 PM
ant.JPG

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Residents of five counties in the Houston area have found themselves besieged by a most unwanted visitor: A new species of swarming, electronics-killing ants. Normally found in the Southeast and the Caribbean, these reddish-brown arthropods known locally as "crazy rasberry ants" are thought to have arrived in Houston via a cargo ship a few years ago, and have since spread in droves. Over-the-counter bug sprays can't touch them, and they're liable to bite—though not with the painful stinger of that other Texas staple, fire ants, whom the crazy raspberries eat for lunch (literally). Unfortunately for Houstonians, the ants share something in common with other ant species: They're strangely drawn to electrical equipment. So far the resulting casualties include sewage pumps, a gas meter, and several computers. There are even reports that the little wire-destroyers have been spotted at NASA's Johnson Space Center and near Hobby Airport, though no major problems have been reported yet. Roger Gold, a Texas A&M University entomologist, says that eliminating the ants is a "nearly impossible" task. On the bright side, the ant invasion has inspired at least one scholarly pursuit—Jason Meyers, an A&M doctoral student, is writing his dissertation on the ant's unstoppable rise.

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In