First it was killer bees, then Argentine ants ... Now, welcome our electronic-eating ant overlords:
It sounds like the plot of a farfetched science fiction movie. Unfortunately for the residents of Texas, it is very much a reality: billions of tiny reddish-brown ants have arrived onshore from a cargo ship and are hell-bent on eating anything electronic.
Computers, burglar alarm systems, gas and electricity meters, iPods, telephone exchanges – all are considered food by the flea-sized ants, for reasons that have left scientists baffled. [...]
Crazy is the the right word. The ants are known as “crazy rasberry ants”: crazy because they seem to move in a random scrum as opposed to marching in regimented lines, and rasberry after a pioneering exterminator, Tom Rasberry, who first identified them as a problem.
The ants – also known as paratrenicha species near pubens – have so far spread to five counties in the Houston area. Scientists are not sure from where they originate but they seem to be related to a type of ant from the Caribbean. “At this point it would be nearly impossible to eradicate the ants because they are so widely dispersed,” said Roger Gold, a Texas A&M University entomologist. He added that the only upside to the invasion was that the crazy rasberry ants ate fire ants, which sting humans during the long, hot Texas summers.
More bad news:
Worse, the ants refuse to die when sprayed with over-the-counter poison. Even killing the queen of a colony doesn’t do any good, because each colony has multiple queens.