Crazy ants are the new fire ants (and possibly worse)

  • December 5, 2016
  • News

The big problem in Texas: no local species appears to beat crazy ants.

Hoping to underscore his point about a new pestilence that has arrived in Central Texas, ant researcher Edward LeBrun pointed to a Mason jar in his office.

The jar looked like it was filled with blackberry jam. But it was actually filled, top to bottom, with ants, roughly 181,000 of them. More specifically, tawny crazy ants — a bug causing such a problem that it has supplanted the fire ant atop the list of pests that researchers say Texas needs to get under control. Several Houston-area suburbs can attest to crazy ants’ destructive habits: swarming across the landscape, nesting in virtually every cavity they can find, along the way ravaging electronics, taking up residence in drywall and disrupting local ecosystems.

Crazy ants are now one of the main topics of study at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory, a University of Texas facility on Lake Austin Boulevard where LeBrun works. His point with the jar full of crazy ants: All the researchers had to do was leave nine 50-milliliter tubes on the ground in an area infested with crazy ants, then collect them a day later. The ants swarm in such vast numbers that the researchers didn’t even have to bait the tubes… Read more from MyStatesman.com