Thursday, August 06, 2009

raspberry crazy ants

There was a good article on raspberry crazy ants and their effect on honey bees in today's paper. Unfortunately, it is pay only so I'll link to other free-er sources.

Like the fire ant the raspberry crazy ant was discovered in Houston. It was probably imported in soil, wood or other lawn type material.

The ant is prolific and voracious. It will eat and out compete fire ants. I'm glad of that. There was a time you could spread a blanket on the ground where I grew up and not concern yourself with being eaten by fire ants. No longer. I watched fire ants move through Little Rock in the 90s.

Raspberry crazy ants are problematic though. They eat bee larvae and infest electronics. The have been known, like fire ants, to short out electric motors. They are immune to over the counter ant poisons. They will be a problem for lots of people as they are spreading.

There is a simple solution to the beekeeping problem though. When I first started keeping bees I was worried about fire ants eating my bees. I constructed hive stands out of 2x4s and mounted them on heavy duty galvanized pipe. At each leg I put a small metal coffee can half filled with water and a layer of oil (vegetable or motor oil) so that the legs of the stand sat in the water/oil filled can. No problems.

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