Many people may wonder why the Crazy Rasberry Ant is called just that – a crazy rasberry ant! This species was coined “crazy” because of the ants’ irregular, indirect, and nonlinear movements. “Rasberry” was taken after the exterminator Tom Rasberry who was the first to notice a problem with these ants back in 2002. Because these ants prefer warmth and moistness before cold, dry weather, Houston, Texas is a popular nesting place for these big infestations.
Many believe that these ants are native to India but are now distributed around the world. Some of the most common areas for these ant infestations are in the U.S. from Florida to Texas, and in other states from California to New York.
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Identification, Biology, & Habit
Rasberry ants follow a full life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, adult.
Queens of the colonies will produce eggs that are about 1mm long in length. The larvae look almost like tiny worms that do not have legs. They depend on worker ants to feed them and as they develop, they will molt. During the pupa stage, they will begin to develop in the nest until their hard exoskeleton is fully developed and they mature into adults. In the physical structure of the ant there is a single node and the legs and antennae are extremely lengthy in comparison to the rest of the body. The antennae have 12 segments and do not have a club at the end. These ants are around 3 millimeters long and noticeable reddish-brown hairs cover their bodies.
Some may be surprised that crazy rasberry ants overpower fire ants, but they do so only because they reproduce more rapidly. There are multiple queens in each colony and are not typically attracted to baits, therefore they are harder to control than most other ant species. They mostly feed on ladybugs and fire ants as well as plants and chicken hatchlings. Their foods range mostly from proteins to sugars. They are great predators, who often feed on the larvae or adults of many different insects.
Another fact about these crazy ants is that they are attracted to places near electrical equipment. Though very unclear, it is true that these ants like to nest in places near electrical equipment including computers. Some believe that these insects are able to detect the magnetic field radiating from the wires with electric current running through them. Others believe that they are simply searching for food or a nesting place that is fairly easy to protect. Though it may be convenient for them, for humans, these types of infestations can be quite aggravating. Ant infestations in places near electrical equipment may cause short circuits, overheating, and mechanical failures.