Most people have never heard of a raspberry ant, which is understandable, as the ants were first documented as recently as 2002. Although scientists have not been aware of this ant species’ existence for very long, residents of Houston likely remember the time these ants descended upon the city. Entomologists believe that these ants hitched a ride to Houston via shipping vessels that had come from South America during the 1930s. Since 2008, these ants have spread from eight countries to a whopping twenty-seven. Unlike any other insect species, raspberry ants infest electrical systems. These ants have chewed through large power cables, and they have caused power outages and short circuits in many different forms of infrastructure. These ants are hairy and reddish brown in color. The pest control operator who first discovered the ants, Tom Rasberry, named them. Rasberry first spotted the ants in a suburb of Houston sixteen years ago.
Rasberry ants remain dormant in Texas until April, at which point the rising temperatures bring these ants out of their resting places. Rasberry ants are fierce enough to beat even the dreaded fire ants in battle. It is around May and early June that residents of Texas begin to fear the annual onslaught of rasberry ants. So far, rasberry ant swarms have been reported in twenty different counties across the Gulf Coast. Some of these counties are located in Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida in addition to Texas. According to Rasberry himself, rasberry ants get into everything, most of all electrical equipment. Rasberry ants have been known to destroy laptop computers, gas meters and water pumps. These ants even managed to access electronic systems in a chemical plant. After destroying these electronic systems, the chemical plant was forced to close temporarily. Even NASA’s headquarters in Houston saw a rasberry ant infestation a few years back. These ants reproduce quickly enough to fill a one-acre field with billions of individual ants within a very short time period. Rasberry has encountered many homeowners who appeared to have been driven crazy by rasberry ant infestations on their property. Although pest control professionals would very much like to see these invasive ants eradicated, the rate at which they are proliferating within America indicates that they are here to stay.
Do you think that rasberry ants could one day reach states that are located north of the Gulf Coast states?