October 4, 2011 by staff
Crazy Ants, Sounds like a horror movie: biting ants invaded by millions. A camper metal protruding from the walls of the ants nest pressure behind them. A circle of poison that stops a day, then a horde of new shows, so you drink. Standing in the courtyard, and secondly ants cover their shoes.
It is an extreme example of what can happen when the ants – which also can disable large industrial plants – without control. Their control can cost thousands of dollars. But the real story is told by someone who has been studying ants for a decade.
“Months later, I close my eyes and see them move,” said Joe MacGown, who curates the collection of ants, mosquitoes and beetles in the State of Mississippi Entomological Museum Mississippi State University.
He has been back to see the hairy crazy ants. They are still around. The occupant is not.
The flea-sized creatures are called crazy because everyone is quick random collector at a speed that the average picnic ants marching one by one, only goes in fast forward video. They are called fuzzy because of the fluff, at first glance, make the abdomen appear less bright than their slower, larger cousins.
And they are moving in Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. In Texas, that have invaded houses and industrial complexes, urban and rural areas. They travel in cargo containers, hay bales, potted plants, motorcycles and trucks moving. Overwhelm hives – a beekeeper in Texas was losing 100 a year in 2009. Cut to industrial equipment.
If one is electrocuted, his death releases a chemical signal to attack a threat to the colony, said Roger Gold, a professor of entomology at Texas A M. &
“The other ants rush in. In short, having a ball of ants,” he said.
A computer control system of pipeline valves short twice in about 35 days, but now there are monthly treatments to keep the bugs at bay, said Tom Rasberry exterminator, who found the first specimens of Texas of the species in the Houston area in 2002.
“We’re kind of going by too much in that particular site because there is much at stake,” he said. “If it closes, which could literally shut down a complete chemical plant that costs millions of dollars.”
And compared with other ants, they need a surplus. For example, Gold said that if 100,000 die from pesticide, millions more will follow.
“I did a test site with a product from the beginning and the product is applied to a half acre … In 30 days we had two inches of dead ants that cover the entire half acre,” said Rasberry. “It looked like the top of the dead ants was the total movement of all the ants live on the top of the dead ants.”
But the history of Mississippi is an exception, Rasberry said. The control is expensive, ranging from 275 to thousands of dollars a year for the 1,000 homes that are discussed in the last month. However, he has never seen anyone force the ants away from home, he said.
Ants prefer not to dig nests and nest in protected places and wet. In extreme cases MacGown in Waveland, Mississippi, the house was in the forest with many fallen trees and piles of rubble. They will eat almost anything – plant or animal.
The ants probably originated in South America, MacGown said. But they were in the Caribbean for the 19 th century, said Jeff Keularts, extension associate professor at the University of the Virgin Islands. That’s the way it was dubbed “the Caribbean crazy ants.” They have also become known as Crazy Rasberry ants after the exterminator.
Are now making their way through parts of the Southeast. Florida had ants in five counties in 2000, but today is up 20, MacGown said. Nine years after being discovered in Texas, which now has 18 counties. So far, have been found in two counties in Mississippi and at least one parish in Louisiana.
Texas has provisionally approved two chemicals in an effort to control the ants, and other states are seeking ways to curb its spread.
Their control can be tricky. Rasberry said he has worked in other jobs exterminators had already tried and failed. Gold said that some pests have been associated with hay bales transported from one place to another for livestock grazing was not drought that has hit Texas.
MacGown said he expects the number slowed down in Louisiana and Mississippi before it is too late.
Crazy ants do not kill furry plague – fire ants – but that’s little consolation.
“I prefer these fire ants,” said MacGown. “I can not keep a colony of fire ants.”
The sites of Texas A & M:
MSU site on ants in southeastern U.S.: http://bit.ly/bnO0e7
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