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The Crazy Raspberry Ants are coming! The Crazy Raspberry Ants are coming!
May 16, 2008 6:18 PM   Subscribe

“They’re the ant of all ants...and are moving about half a mile a year.” Crazy Raspberry Ants! (And you might want to check your computer....)
posted by Kronos_to_Earth (57 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Around 2000 (which is earlier the earliest date I read that they have on file) some of these crazy ants showed up in the bathroom of our Houston apartment. They were INSANE. We couldn't get rid of them, but they eventually disappeared after a couple years. We couldn't figure out why they would be there, because they had no obvious source of food. I didn't connect the two at the time, but some batteries we kept in a cabinet were inexplicably ruined and leaking. The ants were quite strange and we hadn't seen anything like them before.

Ant traps with poison in them did nothing. Out of desperation one day, I tried spraying them quite heavily with hair spray -- I'm talking about a puddle of it -- and it appeared to have worked. I was wrong. Hours later, well past after the hair spray had fully dried, they would start moving again. I'm not joking. Within a minute they would zip off, crazy and energetic as before.

I saw a link to a video like this on CNN and it brought back memories. It's interesting to know they're considered a relatively new thing. We had just assumed they were some kind of established ant that we hadn't personally had experience with before. It's also interesting to know it's a Houston thing.

Other links I dug up today... they're apparently thought to be related to a kind of Caribbean crazy ant:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paratrechina_species_near_pubens
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean_crazy_ant
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3941545.ece
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080515/ap_on_re_us/texas_ants;_ylt=Amuuu3dPi58OpMzGIOMc2Kys0NUE

I bet $5 they destroy civilization as we know it. These things don't fuck around. They're like mini technophage Terminators that move really, really fast.
posted by Nattie at 6:35 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


On the bright side, seems they like to eat fire ants. And those fire ants are assholes. And so far it's only Texas. Couldn't happen to a more deserving state.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:39 PM on May 16, 2008


You load the nukes, I'll get the shuttle prepared for orbit.
posted by DU at 6:40 PM on May 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Also, they are "Rasberry" ants, not "Raspberry".
posted by DU at 6:40 PM on May 16, 2008


(I want to make an observation here but even just mentioning it offhand would be irresponsible.)
posted by tachikaze at 6:46 PM on May 16, 2008


These little fuckers are in my bathroom RIGHT NOW. Reason 912 why living in Houston must be punishment for something bad I did in a past life.
posted by Mamapotomus at 6:47 PM on May 16, 2008


They are vulnerable to some pest control poisons — Mr. Rasberry uses products containing the chemicals fipronil and chlorfenapyr

Mr. Tube uses WD-40 and butane.
posted by Tube at 6:51 PM on May 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Phase IV. that is all.
posted by lapolla at 7:07 PM on May 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


DU, and Mr. Rasberry,

Oops. *blushes*. I'm going to try to have it patched right now.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 7:08 PM on May 16, 2008


And before Phase 4, there was Leiningen.

Nighty night!
posted by maudlin at 7:16 PM on May 16, 2008


Also, they are "Rasberry" ants, not "Raspberry".

The P is silent anyway.
posted by oaf at 7:16 PM on May 16, 2008


The sources on this are noticeably lacking in quotes from actual scientists.
posted by empath at 7:22 PM on May 16, 2008


The sources on this are noticeably lacking in quotes from actual scientists.

... They've eaten the scientists! They're already a step ahead of us!
posted by spiderwire at 7:32 PM on May 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


"At the Tambopata Reserve, Terry Erwin used a bug bomb to collect all the insects from a single leguminous tree in the rain forest. I identified the ants in his sample and found 43 species in 26 genera, approximately equal to the entire ant fauna of the British Isles." EO Wilson, The Diversity of Life, 1992

"By my estimate, between 1 and 10 million billion individuals [ants] are alive at any moment, all of them weighing, to the nearest order of magnitude, as much as the totality of human beings." EO Wilson, Naturalist, 1994
posted by found missing at 7:32 PM on May 16, 2008


social insects are terribly fascinating. I experienced quite a chill when I first conceptualized that the worker ants we see out and about are just autonomous organs of the Queen; that the Queen is the animal and her workers collectively form her extended body.
posted by tachikaze at 7:41 PM on May 16, 2008


Try isopropyl alcohol, or methanol. I discovered quite accidentally that it kills regular ants on contact.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:50 PM on May 16, 2008


I used to have a crazy aunt who would run all around the apartment so fast, my uncle didn't know what to do. One day she got out of the upstairs bathroom window and climbed onto the electric supply line and fried like a bug in a bug zapper. The whole block lost power for the rest of the day. I miss her now.
posted by subgear at 8:00 PM on May 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Holy christing shit, I think these are the same ants that are all over my damn desk at work. They are impervious to ALL COUNTERMEASURES.
posted by brain cloud at 8:11 PM on May 16, 2008


Quote : " And so far it's only Texas. Couldn't happen to a more deserving state."

Good point, about the only other place more deserving that comes to mind is one of the Yankee states.
posted by Senator at 8:12 PM on May 16, 2008


This is going to end up with gorillas freezing to death in the winter, I just know it.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:17 PM on May 16, 2008


Mr. Tube uses WD-40 and butane.

I use Vaseline and the words "but it's so dark in here, I can hardly see anything."
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:20 PM on May 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


When I was in high school I would watch these ants war with the fire ants out in the back yard. They're pretty cool.
posted by Mister Cheese at 8:23 PM on May 16, 2008


I first saw these little monsters in Cuba. They seemed harmless other than the crazy-ass way they run around. My girlfriend calls them 'crack ants'.

Full disclosure: I, um.... I accidentally brought some back to the USA in my luggage once. They were snacking out on something in my luggage.

This could all be my fault.
posted by rokusan at 8:27 PM on May 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


This was cool:
And when you do kill these ants, the survivors turn it to their advantage: They pile up the dead, sometimes using them as a bridge to cross safely over surfaces treated with pesticide.
posted by msalt at 8:41 PM on May 16, 2008


O great cargo ship, I thank thee for the fire ants, the tiger mosquitoes, and the rasberry ants. On top of this shipping container I sacrifice this pile of Goodyear tires in the hopes that someday you deliver a colony of hemophagic crickets from Venezuela so that I may recoil in awe of your greatness.
posted by crapmatic at 8:42 PM on May 16, 2008


Ants + MetaFilter = WIN
posted by not_on_display at 8:50 PM on May 16, 2008


rokusan,

Did you and your luggage arrive in a cargo ship in Houston in 2002? If so, you've got some 'splaining to do.

On the good side, if they spread to central Texas, the ants can clear the brush on George Bush's ranch, freeing him for a career as a visionary elder statesman.
posted by lukemeister at 8:58 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Variants of the species found in Colombia have been known to asphyxiate chickens and even attack cattle by swarming over their eyes, nasal passages and hooves
Now, I don't want to sound alarmist, but AAAAH FUCK WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:03 PM on May 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


Who knew Wikipedia had a page on killer ants?
posted by lukemeister at 9:09 PM on May 16, 2008


Empire of the Ants

I remember reading that and then learning how ants really do swarm and basically eat larger creatures from the inside out one little bit at a time.

DDT works on these right? I mean, there is still hope, right? right?
posted by M Edward at 9:43 PM on May 16, 2008


All the little ants are marching...
posted by mike3k at 10:05 PM on May 16, 2008


Variants of the species found in Colombia have been known to asphyxiate chickens and even attack cattle by swarming over their eyes, nasal passages and hooves . . .

do not want.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:20 PM on May 16, 2008


Ants that build public works are an affront to god. Down with Rasberry ants!
posted by Lord_Pall at 10:36 PM on May 16, 2008


I, for one, welcome our new ant overlords.
posted by mosk at 11:01 PM on May 16, 2008


I'll sit tight and lay down some suppressing fire...in Seattle.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:05 PM on May 16, 2008


Oddly enough, the recent ant visitors to our apartment (in Brooklyn) do, in fact, seem to find their way into my laptop. . .yikes. Must like the heat. . .or binary math. . .

The ants are marching 2^2, hurrah!
posted by flotson at 11:49 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is all some kind of diversionary tactic by the cockroaches.
posted by skippyhacker at 12:34 AM on May 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


This post not safe for younger and more sensitive viewers.

Dude! You gotta warn a person! (Well, I guess it was about FREAKING SCARY BUGS. Why did I open the video!)
posted by nax at 1:41 AM on May 17, 2008


I'd been finding spider mites in my laptop recently. Just one or two occasionally.

My hard drive drive crashed two days ago and I'm now going through the painful waiting period for data extraction.

I know they probably were not the cause but I'm not going to feel guilty about squishing those fuckers anymore.
posted by Esoquo at 1:43 AM on May 17, 2008


Why do I think this is going to be some hideous insect-only variation on "there was an old lady who swallowed a spider"?

So the fire ants were done in by the crazy ants, which required Bolivian ant beetles, which threatened crops, so Equadorian giant wasps were imported, which eventually...etc., etc.

This is going to end with North America covered three foot deep in those horrible giant bat-eating centipedes. Stephen King's "The Mist" is going to look like a story about a petting zoo before this is over, mark my words.
posted by maxwelton at 2:04 AM on May 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


No sign of them yet in London. Quick, someone close down that transatlantic tunnel!
posted by gfrobe at 2:42 AM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


And there I was hoping they were going to be bright pink or purple or something...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:30 AM on May 17, 2008


...the only other place more deserving that comes to mind is one of the Yankee states.

But which one? Can it be -- yes, it must be -- the one that keeps the Yankees!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:21 AM on May 17, 2008


Let's see: no water, blistering hot summers, the need for constant air conditioning, and now the threat of being eaten from the inside out by miserable little ant swarms. Why do people live in the South while America's magnificent Great Plains sit empty? North Dakota and South Dakota undergo a great sterilization by cold every winter, which keeps this sort of tropical extremism at bay. Oh yes, and hurricanes. Why do you people put up with that?
posted by Faze at 4:51 AM on May 17, 2008


I believe the hurricanes help promote biodiversity, and scrub off some of the spilled crude oil.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:09 AM on May 17, 2008


I have a solution. An adorable solution.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:22 AM on May 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


i guess its just a matter of time before they get to the Yucatan... they can join the at-least-ten different kind of ants that we rent our house from already...
posted by workinggringa at 6:57 AM on May 17, 2008


I've got an old bottle of this stuff. It's a cleaning fluid, not an insecticide, but damned if it doesn't kill anything I spray with it. Ants shrivel up and die, wasps on the wing plummet to the ground. It's completely non-toxic around people and pets, too. Highly recommended.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:01 AM on May 17, 2008


I heard it was the Russians
posted by ob at 7:56 AM on May 17, 2008


Ants being attracted to electromagnetic fields isn't unique to this species, but they may be more fond of them than most. A couple of years ago I returned home to find a procession of ants leading down my hallway, into my spare bedroom, and right into an old Cisco Catalyst. Many of them were carrying eggs. I unplugged the switch, threw it in the freezer, and vacuumed up as many as I could.
posted by gngstrMNKY at 9:36 AM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmmmm! Are they edible?
posted by doctorschlock at 10:04 AM on May 17, 2008


Holy crap, imma move into a bubble with a couch and a tv. Then when I miss nature, I can turn on the Discovery and Nature channels and remind myself why I live in a bubble.
posted by FunkyHelix at 10:54 AM on May 17, 2008


Pua and Stewie - The Anteaters
posted by hortense at 12:19 PM on May 17, 2008


the need for constant air conditioning

According to the new Wired, cooling a home in Arizona produces 93% fewer CO2 emissions than warming a house in New England.

So... you're welcome.
posted by patrick rhett at 1:01 PM on May 17, 2008


Countess Elena, if it takes as long to eat the ants as it took to load, we're in trouble.
posted by nax at 2:34 PM on May 17, 2008


Where is Leiningen when we need him most?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:57 PM on May 18, 2008


Oh no! Agricultural nightmare!!

Look out for the terrible shortage of, um, what? Lawn clippings?
posted by pompomtom at 9:43 PM on May 18, 2008


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