Raspberry crazy ants invade and occupy honeybee hives in Texas

The Raspberry crazy ants – called “crazy” because they wander about erratically, unlike most ants marching in regimented lines – have been causing trouble ever since they first were noticed and now they have started assaulting honeybee hives. The Scientific American blog 60-second Science writes:

Beekeepers say the omnivorous ants swarming the hives appear to be less interested in the sweet honey inside than they are in the bee larvae there. And once a hive is decimated, the ants will take over and use it to raise their own young. One beekeeper reported that the ants had destroyed about 100 of his hives in the past year. Aside from the crops they help to pollinate, the bees also produce about 4.9 million pounds of honey a year, the AP said.

To better fight your enemy you need to know your enemy, but research requires funding, and funding requires research. Meanwhile, the ant is spreading throughout Texas, so time is of the essence. The “Raspberry” part of the ants name come from an exterminator who has fought the ants from early on whose name is Tom Raspberry who said:

There are literally thousands of things we need to find out to get on a fast track, otherwise we’re going to do just like we did with the fire ant and wait until it was too late.

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