When the Crazy Ants Go Marching In

First, there were fire ants. Then there were killer bees. Now, get ready for crazy ants.

Also known as "Rasberry ants," after the exterminator who discovered them, the insects have marched in southeast Texas.

"These crazy ants, well, they're very erratic in their movement, and hence, they act crazy." said Doug Andrews, director of the Dallas County AgriLife Extension.

The ants have made homes in 11 counties in southeast Texas, and Andrews is monitoring their progress to see how far north they travel.

"We think they are transported primarily physically and mechanically by trucks, cars, trains and airplanes," Andrews said.

Crazy ants don't bite humans, but they still can cause plenty of damage by swarming in houses and around appliances.

"They'll go in there by the hundreds or thousands and literally, physically, short that circuit out, so your AC stops," Andrews said, point at an air-conditioning unit.

The insects tend to cover whatever they climb -- and that includes people and wildlife. Andrews said the swarms are driving fire ants and other creatures from their old homes.

"People even going out in their back yards where they are a problem -- you go out, and you get ants all over you, pets and other wildlife, rabbits, squirrels, this type thing," Andrews said.

The ants are omnivores, meaning they eat plants and proteins. But the pests especially enjoy sugary substances.

Andrews said not much is known about the ants' origins because there hasn't been much money spent on research.

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