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Crazy ants are coming for you

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  • There’s a new invasive kid on the block that swarms like a fire ant on crack — neurotic, unpredictable crazy ants, and their spread is on across the South and Southwest.

Native to Brazil and officially discovered in 2002 by Tom Rasberry, a Houston exterminator, crazy ants took root in suburbia, hiding in plain sight. Invasive species cost the United States over $100 billion in control each year and while 13 federal agencies share invasive police duties, the system, while not porous, has holes: “By appearing first in suburban neighborhoods and not, say, national forests or wildlife refuges or farmland, they colonized the territory between various agencies’ jurisdictions. The government’s system is reactive, not proactive, and so only recently has the species surged into regulatory review … The Department of Agriculture still doesn’t consider the ants a ‘pest of agricultural significance.’”

Their rate of spread is debated, but at least breeding crazy ants can’t fly, limiting their range to a slow, but sure, expansion. Rasberry believes the window to stop their initial spread has closed: “I think we’ve missed all the real opportunities. There’s no way out.”

The environmental and ecological damage may be only just beginning: “You knock nature off balance, and ain’t nobody there to catch her.”

 

Follow me on Twitter: @CBennett71 or email me: cbennett@farmpress.com

 

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Discuss this Blog Entry 1

on Dec 13, 2013

Why doesn't someone develop a bug zapper type trap for them?

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