One of the first things that people ask is why it’s called a rasberry ant, and it’s a pretty simple story. The rasberry crazy ant is named after Tom Rasberry, a pest control operator, who discovered the ants here in Texas. Pest control in Austin has been seeing more and more of them ever since.
This species is notable for a couple of reasons:
- Huge numbers
- Attraction to electricity
- Incredibly tough to effectively control
As with fire ants, one of the most important areas to keep an eye on is around your air conditioner. These ants are attracted to the electricity, Dr. Mike Merchant shared some of the most compelling theories as to why on his blog, but no matter the reason, in large numbers they can cause shorts in the electrical components of your air conditioner, which no one needs in Austin in July.
The rasberry crazy ant is a small light brown ant, but unlike fire ants, you won’t see the rasberry crazy ant in mounds. That isn’t how these ants live. They live in groundcover like the mulch around many houses, but they don’t make mounds. They show up in huge numbers and are very resilient. Many of the traditional pesticides seem unable to give control, and with the size of the populations, bait is relatively impractical due to the amount that is needed to control such a large population.
Truth be told, we haven’t see a lot of the rasberry crazy ant yet here in Austin. though Houston has faced the ant for the past couple of years. There is some debate as to how likely these new ants are to take up residence in Austin, since some experts seem to think that Austin may be too dry. If we are lucky, that will be the case, and the instances that we have seen of the rasberry crazy ant may prove to be isolated, but that certainly isn’t clear. Either way, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye out around your air conditioner, other electrical areas like well pumps or pool pumps you may have, as well as the foundation of your house for ants. If they are there, it’s only a matter of time before they are on the inside, especially as the summer gets dry and ants explore the indoors looking for moisture.