updated 06:58 pm EDT, Sat May 18, 2013
Hardy invasive species pushing out fire ants, other ant colonies
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered that the US fire ant population is being pushed out by "tawny crazy ants," with an affinity to the interior of electronic devices. The ants are capable of nesting in nearly any container, and as they travel, they disrupt other ant populations.
"They nest in electronics and create short circuits, as they create a contact bridge between two points when they get electrocuted they release an alarm pheromone," says UT research assistant Edward LeBrun. "The other ants are attracted to the chemicals that other ants give off. At this point, more ants arrive and create a larger nest."
Some researchers claim that a single nest can contain multiple queens, and normal poisons and baits have little effect on the new species. Without assistance migrating, the species travels approximately 650 feet per year.
The initial name of "Raspberry Crazy Ants" was named after pest control worker Tom Rasberry who first discovered the ant, and reported the population to Texas A&M researchers. The scientific name for the subspecies is Nylanderia fulva.