By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
There is a new “crazy” ant making headlines from Texas to Florida, and these tenacious creatures make fire ants look like long lost friends.
Primarily located along the coastal counties including the Houston area, “crazy” ants on the march have a taste for everything from livestock to electrical equipment.
The tiny insect’s scientific name is Nylanderia Fulva but is called crazy because of the erratic trail it leaves as it eats its way across the country is so erratic it appears the ants have tipped the bottle too many times. Formerly the “crazy” was known as the raspberry crazy ant.
The crazy ant, only one eighth of an inch long, was likely introduced into the United State by humans who didn’t know the pests were there. Crazy ants are so small that millions can hide under a rock or inside a computer.
Crazy ants have currently moved into 21 counties in Texas, 20 counties in Florida and some spots in Mississippi and Louisiana, all seemingly with human assistance.
Dallas landscape and pest control expert Mark Funderburk has spent extensive time studying the new threat since it was first sighted near Houston in 2002 and notes that the ant is a slow moving species that may or may not reach the north Texas area any time in the near future.
“Most of these crazy ants found probably came in on container ships from either Argentina and Brazil,” Funderburk said. “One of the traits of the crazy is that it does not mound like other ant species so it is hard to bait its nest to get rid of the queen.”
Don’t plan on killing crazy ants with commercial ant killer.
“Normal pesticides don’t work on them,” Funderburk said. “ Researchers at Texas A&M have found that chemicals that kill red ants aren’t effective on crazy ants so a professional should be called in to deal in extreme situations.”
Although the crazy ant does not sting, it is said to have an annoying bite that scares wildlife away. Being very invasive, it can infest homes, recreational vehicles, transformers, laptops or any other device left in its path.
Crazy ants, according to researcher Ed LeBrun of the University of Texas, Austin, “just simply aren't very polite.” LeBrun is co-author of a study on crazy ants published in the journal “Biological Invasions.”
LeBrun said in the journal article that he and his colleagues have found that the ants attack and kill other species and monopolize food resources so efficiently that they jeopardize the entire ecosystem.
LeBrun also said that although they are “near the bottom of the food chain, but they could have a devastating effect on plants and animals ranging from cattle to songbirds.”
He also said that in one year alone, researchers documented $146.5 million in damages to electrical equipment just in Texas.
At this time there have not been any sightings of the crazy ants in the North Texas area.
By CATHY MOUNCE
- Local News
GISD teachers thank school board at meeting
Gainesville Independent School District (GISD) teachers rallied at the Monday school board meeting to thank the board for the recent GISD district extra duty pay given out at the first of December.
NCTC honors graduates at commencement ceremonies
North Central Texas College hosted two commencement ceremonies last week to honor the Fall 2013 graduates.
Additional candidates file before deadline
Local candidates in the March 2014 election assembled on the Cooke County Courthouse steps recently for a group photo. Pictured, left to right, are Carroll Johnson, Lee Tatum, John Morris, Aaron Smith, Vince Rippy, Jason Brinkley, Byron Berry, Neil Trice, Leon Klement. Front: Patty Brennan, Rebecca Lawson, Susan Hughes, Dorthy Lewis. Not pictured is B.C. Lemons.
Icy weather forces changes during NCTC finals week
North Central Texas College officials dealt with the county’s recent winter weather by rescheduling semester finals and managing campus walkways, but an expected freeze during this coming week should pose fewer problems.
Chamber guests donate food for VISTO
The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce held its holiday mixer at Fuzzy's Taco. The restaurant provided nachos for the event. In addition, mixer guests were encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for VISTO's food pantry. Pictured above are Shari Kuykendall, Kelly Corbett, Mary Jo Graham, Rhonda Beam and Renea Stephens. Fuzzy's patrons can still donate to the food drive.
NCTC president is also a talented artist
A bronze bull dog named Sadie Mae is one of several works of art created by North Central Texas College President Dr. Eddie Hadlock. The busy college president makes time in his schedule to enjoy art.
Abigail's Arms agents talk to Lions Club about new program
A recent Gainesville Lions Club meeting included a program about a community initiative to help sexual assault victims.
Fatality reported near Love County
LOVE COUNTY, OKLA. — Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported a pedestrian fatality that followed a one-car collision Monday evening on State Highway 32.
Combs announces allocations for December
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reported Wednesday that state sales tax revenue in November was $2.41 billion, up 2.8 percent compared to November 2012.
Morris seeks re-election
Incumbent County Court-at-Law Judge John Morris has opted for an additional term in 2014, following a long history of local service.
- More Local News Headlines
- GISD teachers thank school board at meeting