Crazy Rasberry Ants Menace Electronics In Houston - InformationWeek

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5/15/2008
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Crazy Rasberry Ants Menace Electronics In Houston

Local exterminators say the insects get into electrical outlets and boxes and are known to short out computer systems.

Computer users in Houston may encounter more bugs than anywhere else in the country.

The bugs in question are crazy rasberry ants, which are named not for their flavor, but for their inscrutable meanderings and for past efforts by exterminator Tom Rasberry to eliminate them.

Supposedly, crazy rasberry ants are fond of electronics.

According to Associated Press writer Linda Stewart Ball, the ants "are invading homes and yards across the Houston area, shorting out electrical boxes and messing up computers."

"They have been known to short out many different types of electrical apparatuses," says a Texas A&M University Web page about the pests.

Exterminators in Houston are aware of problem but aren't all that alarmed.

"We haven't had any calls on it so far," said Jessy Flores, who answered the phone for HomeTeam Pest Defense.

The woman answering the phone for North Houston Exterminators acknowledged receiving perhaps a dozen calls about the ants over the past few years but said they're not all that prevalent.

Rick Kocurek, an exterminator with Technical Pest Services, said, "I think it has the potential to be a serious problem. It's sort of isolated in the south and southwest part of the city."

Kocurek said he'd been dealing with crazy rasberry ant infestations for about two years. "They take over whole neighborhoods sometimes. There are just thousands and thousands of them all over the property."

As for ants fouling computers, Kocurek said, "We haven't run across that problem."

"They do get into electrical outlets and boxes," said Veronica Obregon, chief communications officer for the Texas Department of Agriculture. But she hadn't heard about them infecting PCs. She said her agency has been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to find better ways to control the ants, which she described as mainly a nuisance.

"They're almost impossible to eradicate," Obregon said, "but they can be controlled."

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