back to article 'Crazy rasberry ants' target Texan tech

Texans in the Houston area are battling rampaging hordes of "voracious swarming ants" which have inexplicably developed a taste for electronic equipment, Chicago Tribune reports. The "crazy rasberry ants" - which apparently arrived aboard a cargo ship in the port of Houston back in 2002 - got their common name "because they …

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  1. Stuart johnson
    Linux

    Groan Warning

    I may have been beaten to it, but surely the headline should have been:-

    Ants take a Byte out of PCs or something similar?

    Or

    Ants are a Bit peckish?

    (Sorry!)

  2. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    Phase IV

    Oddly enough, quite similiar to the plot of this film...

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070531/

  3. dervheid
    Alien

    We always knew...

    the fucking ants would take over the world!

  4. Tim Read
    Stop

    sp!

    <pedant>

    That's not how you spell RASPBERRY

    </pedant>

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Phase IV

    Anyone else remember this 1974 'end of the world' sci-fi film?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070531/

    Sounds like it's happening for real!

  6. Adrian Waterworth
    Flame

    @Tim Read

    Others have presumably already said this, or you were taking the mickey or something, but...

    According to the article, "Rasberry" is the way in which you spell the surname of the chap after whom the ants are actually named. As opposed to the fruit.

    I can't be bothered to check whether his name really is Rasberry or Raspberry. Or something else altogether.

    Flames 'cos these critters are presumably still preferable to fire ants. Or a fire.

  7. MarmiteToast
    Thumb Down

    @ Tim Read

    crazy + surname

    not

    crazy + name of a fruit.

  8. Eponymous Howard
    Joke

    So...

    ...they have some bugs in their systems then...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smoke 'em out

    We used to stick a drinking straw in the ground and exhale a little reefer at them. Not only do you get a mass exodus of antage from the ground but you normally get some of the bigger guys come running up bearing the queen. I guess they believe there's a fire and they need to save her. One well targeted stamp later and no more queen = no more nest. If you have multiple nests then buy yourself a nine bar and get puffin'

  10. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    @Tim Read

    It's how they spell Raspberry on Ellis Island.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    near pubens?

    Any relation to crabs?

  12. Peter Simpson
    Paris Hilton

    Spelling

    They're actually "Paratrechina", if you're planning on looking them up

    /Paris, because she's probably got unidentified bugs, too

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Thanks, ants...

    Thants.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They watched Stargate

    It's the replicators, run for your lives.

  15. caffeine addict Silver badge

    Well, I for one...

    Well I for one welcome our new crazy fruit flavoured computer eating overlords...

  16. Peter D'Hoye
    Thumb Up

    HEX

    Am I the only one who instantly thinks of HEX, the glass-tubes-with-ants computer in the discworld series?

    Anthill Inside :)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Time for...

    a large number of kettles of boiling water. That'll sort them out.

  18. peter Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    @Smoke 'em out

    Apparently their colonies have multiple queens.

    A bit more detail and a pic (of Rasberry with his ants) here:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3941545.ece

    (Paris, because, well, she's clearly got crazy rasberry ants in her pants...)

  19. Shinobi87

    whynot

    just get some ant eaters in? no pesticides!

  20. Bad Beaver
    Flame

    Phase IV

    Gawd, that movie. Scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. I have not seen it in twenty years, but there are still pictures from it in my brain *shudder*

    Fire is clean.

  21. W
    Happy

    @ 16th May 2008 11:16 GMT

    Thants indeed. :-)

  22. anarchic-teapot
    Joke

    @Peter

    > Apparently their colonies have multiple queens.

    No, that's San Francisco.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @dervheid

    "Fucking ants"?

    You must have had a higher-res version of the Moderatrix's boudoir pic than me, all I could see was a dog...

    damn, I'm going to have to get /several/ coats to make up for that one ...

  24. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge
    Stop

    Possible control system

    Well, if these ants attack electrical equipment, it could well be useful to work out what is so attractive about it (ultrasound or electromagnetism, probably) and use that to build traps for them.

    With a bit of ingenuity, solar-powered traps which use some sort of electronic attractor and include a powerful but slow-acting insecticide, or even a bio-control agent like an entomopathogenic fungus could work very well; the insecticide would just clobber the population, whereas the pathogen would clobber the entire nest.

    This sort of thing has been done to combat carrotflies, usng female sex pheromone, so it does work but you just have to find an attractant and a suitable pathogen.

  25. Fluffykins Silver badge

    This may settle it once and for all:

    Do the ants prefer PCs, Macs or *nix boxes?

  26. John Savard Silver badge

    Odd name

    Are you sure they aren't known to science as an as-yet unnamed species in the genus _Paratrenchia_ that is near to _Paratrenchia pubens_, which may yet get named _Paratrenchia rasberiensis_ if the entomologist who established it as a distinct species does not want the honor?

    Also, from news items in local Texas papers, apparently Rasbery is indeed the exterminator's surname.

  27. Elmer Phud Silver badge
    Go

    Ped ant

    Erm, I believe that the glass case with ants in it is outside HEX. The bees are inside.

  28. theotherone
    Joke

    near what?

    anything ants that gets "near pubens" are bound to make you very uncomfortable...

  29. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Ants heading for NASA

    Hold on, do you think they know something we don't and are planning on hitching a lift on the next mission to Mars?

  30. Quirkafleeg
    Go

    Ant Attack

    Well, we now know where Antescher is.

  31. George
    Dead Vulture

    How to eliminate Crazy Rasberry Ants

    I'm based in Texas and was just asked yesterday to prepare a guide on getting rid of Crazy ants. If I missed anything, feel free to drop me a line in the comments and I'll add your suggestions:

    http://www.cleanairgardening.com/guide-to-crazy-ants.html

  32. John Folken Wolf
    Joke

    Dumps full o' scrapped electronics solution...

    Well, here's our solution to that environmental emergency... export the bunch there and let'em start the gnawing. Of course, due to the toxicity of those dumps, we may end up with a few Antzilla's, but we can sort that out in due time...

  33. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    IT Angle

    They could be useful

    Think how much money we make fixing bugs in MS Windows and getting rid of computer viruses. These could be the next big support call. Go antz, go my little techie helpers.

  34. Daniel

    @George (Re: How to eliminate Crazy Rasberry Ants)

    You forgot what is probably the best method of which I am aware... nematodes. Those parasitic little buggers won't bother the adult ants, but can totally wipe out a colony by eliminating the larvae and queens. Of course, if you've tried chemicals and failed, you're screwed - the pesticide residue will kill off any nematodes you add, and who wants to live with electronics eating ants for a year or two while you wait for the soil concentrations to drop off?

    Also, while I'm not as confident in it, I suspect that DE (diatomaceous earth) would work quite well as a border control in places where you can keep it dry (such as along the baseboards of your house, especially useful while waiting for the nematodes to do their thing). Just make certain you use food grade DE - pool grade has been treated in all sorts of nasty ways, including high heat that causes the silica to melt and recrystallize, making the dust dangerous to humans as well as insects.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Dr Dan Holdsworth

    Great idea, man. Really like the concept-- like a ground level bug-zapper.

    My preferred ant removal method:

    (Not especially 'green' or 'safe' or 'well thought out')

    Pour gasoline on nest. Ignite. Make sure to keep an eye on it.

    I've never had a problem with survivors. If the fire doesn't kill them, the caustic gases will.

  36. English
    Thumb Up

    Want to see those ants? Ewww

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSUa9VsOqBo

  37. Nexox Enigma

    Ants and Electroncis

    I've heard before that ants are occasionally attracted to electromagnetic emissions, I believe someone had a while ant colony move into his powerbook or some such. Plus ants are pretty conductive, and when they die they release a chemical that signals all the other ants in the area to come help out.

    I've heard of traffic signals and things getting totally filled to the breaking point with larger ants.

    This just sounds like no fun at all...

  38. Alice Andretti

    It's TERRORISM, I tell ya! Furriners tryin to destroy us!

    Those godamm furreigners over thar in China or sumplace went an' bio-enginereed 'emselves some mudderfrukan' computer-eatin' ants an' then they sent the ants over here on that ship to destroy all ar electrisity an' stuff!! Ah never did trust those furreign basturds, now we got real good reason not to! They're tryin' to destroy us with BUGS!! Course those enemy sientists who created the new ants gots the only way to kill the ants too, so after our Ammerican elektricity an' computers an' satellitez an' stuff is *all* gone, those furriners can just waltz rite into the U.S.s.A and take over!!! Wel'l all havtu learn how to speke Chineze er Rushian or sumthin!! [rummaging in closet for big shotgun]

    (reality check) ... Actually, hmmmm, well..... bio-engineered bugs, take a natural attraction to electrical components and hybridize/bio-engineer them to where they really *really* like to scarf down wires and computers and circuitboards and stuff - heh, playing devil's advocate for a moment, from a mad scientists' or terrorist's point of view that might be better than nothing (and probably easier to implement than anthrax or other bio-engineered things).

    Like the old adage about two-dozen tiny yappy dogs nipping at someone's heels until the person expends all their energy trying to get rid of the nuisance yappy little mutts, rather than just sending in one giant Doberman or something. No point in killing off the humans (keep 'em for slaves maybe), when slowly destroying their high-tech computer-based defense systems would be cheaper and just as effective, might take a few years longer, but hey, they're in no hurry, right?. Okay so we'd come up with some bug-killer before then, presumbably, a minor flaw in my mad-scientist plot ;) and oh, well, I guess they'd need to have an antidote to the bugs too... well, heck, it was just a thought... Might make a really cheesy low-grade home movie or something :)

    uh-oh, if it turns out the bugs *are* bio-engineered to destroy the US infrastructure, will the black helicopters come and get me since I publicly spoke of it? ;)

  39. Ishkandar

    @Shinobi87

    No self-respecting anteater will want to be seen dead within a 500 mile radius of Houston !!

    @Dr Dan Holdsworth >>usng female sex pheromone - I thought that only worked with horny teenagers !!

    @George (Re: How to eliminate Crazy Rasberry Ants) - Use the standard American solution to any problem !! When in doubt, NUKE EM !! I'm sure Houston is no great loss. Plenty more where they came from !!

    @Wayland Sothcott - Ssssh !! Why do you want to let out our secret money-making scheme for ??

  40. Aubry Thonon

    Re: Ped ant

    @ Elmer Phud: "Erm, I believe that the glass case with ants in it is outside HEX. The bees are inside."

    Sorry Elmer, but the previous poster had it correct: the ants are directed around HEX by use of perforated cards. The bee hive was a later addition and is used for long-term storage.

  41. David Adams
    Joke

    It's obviously.....

    ... a branch of the "neoLuddite ResistANT Army" here to help us fight against the RoTM!

    We are obviously at a critical point in the evolution of the machines so the Ants have been transported back in time, (using the Machines own time travelling device obviously), and are set to munch their way through the Armies of the Machine Overlords.

    .............. and I for one welcome our brave time travelling LuddANT allies...........

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My game server is in Texas.

    I hope they don't get at my rented gameserver which is in Texas somewhere ... I don't know where, it runs Linux so no one needs to push the reset button :-) The game has enough red ants in it already, and they're bigger than the players. I'll have to warn the games residents to watch out for red ants in other than the designated kill zones.

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