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What are Crazy Rasberry Ants?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Crazy rasberry ants are a new species of ant which was discovered in Texas in 2002. As of 2008, biologists have been unable to firmly classify the insects, so they have no formal scientific name. They are believed to be relatives of the so-called “crazy ants” found in regions of the Caribbean, however, and they represent a serious problem for Texans. In addition to multiplying at incredible speed, crazy rasberry ants are also voracious, and resistant to a number of pesticides and other ant control measures.

The “crazy” in “crazy rasberry ants” comes from their movements, which are extremely rapid and erratic. Unlike other species of ants, which typically form organized groups, crazy rasberry ants simply swarm, covering all available surfaces and eating plants, insects, and small animals such as baby birds in their path. The “rasberry” is a reference to Tom Rasberry, an exterminator who first identified the ants as a unique problem in 2002, after dealing with several infestations for various clients in Texas.

Eliminating crazy rasberry ants is extremely difficult, although the Texas Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with several universities, is certainly trying. These ants multiply extremely quickly, and the colonies have several queens, making it vitally important to find the nest and destroy it to get rid of the ants. Crazy rasberry ants will also compete with other ant species, often choking them out because they can reproduce so quickly and because they will cheerfully eat other ants.

These ants also demonstrate remarkable adaptability and intelligence. For example, when pesticides which are effective against the ants are used, the ants will literally stack the bodies of the dead to build bridges, with the goal of avoiding direct contact with the pesticides. They are also extremely hardy, preferring a warm, moist environment, and they have been known to infest electronics in addition to structures, in some cases actually causing severe damage.

Crazy rasberry ants probably hitched a ride from somewhere on a cargo ship, which means that they undoubtedly exist elsewhere in the world, although so far they have only been documented in Texas. Within Texas, the ants are slowly spreading, both on their own and with the unwitting assistance of cars and trucks. Because they are difficult to contain and control, some concerns have been raised about the inevitable spread of crazy rasberry ants, which could cause a significant amount of economic damage.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon989913 — On Mar 27, 2015

They do not like cedar oil and Diatomaceous earth which we use around our water well and pump. Cedar shavings repel them and the earth dehydrates them.

By anon55652 — On Dec 08, 2009

Crazy ants have taken over our property, inside the house and out. They particularly love water pipes. they will drive you crazy, as you can't put food down on a counter anywhere. We spray and spray. But they don't bite or sting. You just feel movement on you. Creepy.

We live half way between Houston and Corpus Christi.

By anon45428 — On Sep 16, 2009

anon32145 the crazy ants are not a hoax! i have them here at my house.... you can not get get rid of them.... they short out my pump switch i've had to replace it twice! ant sprays works on the CRA that are in a line but that is about it. they take over my hummingbird feeder, trees, shrubs, it's like some kind of horror movie. they do not bite; they just crawl all over your legs.

By anon32506 — On May 22, 2009

There is a recipe of flour, boric acid and bacon grease that can be used against roaches. Has anyone tried it on the ants? I do not have the recipe but it was in a fix-it column in a newspaper in Minnesota at one point. Good luck with those ants Texas. I hope they do not come to MN.

By Diwiyana — On May 20, 2009

I suspect they are from South America and are kin to the army ants there, which also swarm over things and devour animals in their path. These ants were said to be allergic to uncooked hot cereal, at one point. They were supposed to eat it up, swell up inside, and burst. Ha ha. They ate it up all right, kept on swarming, suffered no ill effects whatsoever, and kept on spreading. Gasoline doesn't seem to hurt them either. Neither does motor oil poured down their holes. Pesticides kill some but not the queen. When they bite, it hurts like crazy too!

By anon32190 — On May 17, 2009

Hey anon - yes they do exist. No hoax. Do a web search.

By anon32145 — On May 17, 2009

This has the hallmarks of science fiction horror and one wonders whether it is, in fact, a hoax designed to test people's willingness to believe nonsense.

Do such ants really exist? Are there any additional sources of information on them?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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