Secret Site Map
Saturday, August 02, 2014

Home News Scientists Examining Northward Expansion of Rasberry Ants

Scientists Examining Northward Expansion of Rasberry Ants

The ant has quickly spread as far north as Louisiana and Mississippi within the last year, researchers from Sam Houston State U. report. (Photo: Tom Rasberry)

Sam Houston State University | November 13, 2009

HUNTSVILLE — Poor Texas. First it was killer bees, then fire ants. Now, it’s the Rasberry ants.

The invasion of this new species of ants has scientists intrigued, businesses concerned and fire ants running for the hills, said Jerry Cook, an entomologist at Sam Houston State University.

Cook and other scientists are at a loss to explain the fast and furious spread of the rapacious ant, which is named after exterminator Tom Rasberry, who discovered the ant in Houston in 2002.

The bug has quickly spread as far north as Louisiana and Mississippi within the last year.

“This is a species that we do not know much about.  Presumably the ant came from the Caribbean through the Port of Houston,” Cook said. “We know the ant is in the Paratrechina genus and is capable of growing a population of billions and they need to eat. They especially like other bugs, like fire ants and honey bees.”

The population is growing so fast, and so large, that it is potentially an ecosystem disaster, according to Cook.

“If the Rasberry ant can virtually eliminate a pain like the fire ant, what else is it capable of doing?” he said. “If bees are eliminated, plants will not be pollinated which could result to the lack of crops producing fruits and vegetables. That in turn becomes a major problem for the agriculture community. They could become more than a nuisance, they could become a danger.”    

The Rasberry ant does not have a stinger and therefore cannot inject venom into a person’s body; however, it does have formic acid, which creates an irritant reaction rather than a painful poison reaction.

“The bite of the Rasberry ant is far less painful than a fire ant’s. Essentially you can get covered with them, and it might freak you out,” Cook said.     

The population of the Rasberry ant is constantly growing and scientists have not yet discovered a way to eliminate them.        

“Without research, we won’t discover a solution, and without proper funding we’re not likely to get much research,” Cook said.       

With a research grant, government or otherwise, scientists could reach out to the community to include industries, such as pest control, to develop products and strategies that could control or even eliminate them.       

Insecticides will reduce the population and remove them for about a week, but there is no known treatment that would eliminate them for good.       

“If we would have had those grants a year ago, we may have been able to start a program that would have eliminated them but now it is probably beyond that point,” Cook said.

“Until then, we need to learn how to live with them because the Rasberry, like the fire ant, is here to stay.”
 

Top news

Bed Bugs Turn Up in Senate Office Building

The pests were found on the sixth floor of the Dirksen building last week, causing officials to take emergency measures such as closing off a restroom for a couple of days with yellow police tape, the Daily Caller reports.

'NPMA Gives Award' Presented to Spencer Pest Services

The award was created to provide association members with a way to recognize their contributions to their communities.

Update: Bill to Amend FIFRA, CWA Passes House

The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013 (H.R. 935), a bill that would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act regarding the use of pesticides near bodies of water, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.

What Role Does Private Equity Play in M&As?

Michael O’Connell and Christopher Ball of Brocket Tamny, two veterans of the financial markets with extensive banking experience, will share their knowledge on this topic at the upcoming PCT Mergers and Acquisitions Virtual Event, scheduled for Aug. 27.

Podcast: Rob LaMoine on His 'Biggest Mistake'

LaMoine, president of RIA Solutions, Buford, Ga., talks about his biggest mistake, which was waiting too long to switch his company's service model to exterior only.