The Crazy Ants That May Eat NASA


There are various news reports this week concerning a tiny reddish-brown ant by the name of paratrenicha species near pubens (or more commonly crazy rasberry ants) that has infested five counties of Houston. It turns out these ants like to eat electronic equipment.

As noted in a story in the London Times,

"Computers, burglar alarm systems, gas and electricity meters, iPods, telephone exchanges â'' all are considered food by the flea-sized ants, for reasons that have left scientists baffled."

They are now on the march towards Houston's Hobby Airport and NASA's Johnson Space Center.

The ants are so well-established now, they are likely impossible to fully eradicate. Worse, they are resistant to over-the-counter poisons. Furthermore, colonies apparently have multiple queens, so killing one doesn't do the job.

The ants apparently got to Houston via a cargo ship from the Caribbean about six years ago. Their only redeeming value is that they eat fire-ants.

There is a story here from ComputerWorld that talks about some of the damage to electronics they have caused.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City