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Raspberry crazy ants spread throughout Texas

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Here in Texas, it's the fire ant mounds you try to avoid. However, homeowners and businesses are learning about a bigger problem on their hands.

They're known as the raspberry crazy ants, which can cause extensive damage to residential and commercial electrical systems. And experts say there's no end in sight.

"These ants are real bad about getting into electronic circuit boards," said Tom Rasberry with Budget Pest Control.

The raspberry crazy ant was discovered by Rasberry in 2002, hence how it got its name. He says they're spreading across our region at alarming rates, and the potential damage is costly.

"We're talking about hundreds and hundreds of millions and billions of dollars," Rasberry said.

Rasberry says in 2005, there were only in two known areas these ants were found in. But not anymore.

"At this point, they're in over 24 counties in Texas," Rasberry said.

Rasberry says they're no end of sight in stopping them as well. But don't fear being attacked.

"The raspberry crazy ant does not have a stinger, like the fire ant does. It does not sting," said Dr. Paul Nester with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service.

Nester says they're more of a nuisance bug, and there are some things you can do to keep them at bay.

"We try and stress the sanitation, remove things away from the house -- pots and garbage cans, anything laying around the house because that's harborage areas," Nester said.

But even if you do that, it's no guarantee you won't be infested. If you bring home a plant from a nursery...

"You can pick up a potted plant that might have a queen or so in it, and they can move it around. It's easily transferred," Nester said.

If you have an infestation, an exterminator can help, but make certain they have experience with this type of ant because it is not like any other that we have had in the U.S.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13

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