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Texas exterminator warns of bee-killing ants

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: August 8, 2009
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DALLAS — A species of ant that has ruined sewage pumps, fouled computers and made it difficult for homeowners to enjoy their yards has a new target: the honeybee.

The range of the so-called Rasberry crazy ant has more than doubled in the past year, swarming in 11 counties beginning near Houston and moving north, scientists say.

"It really is spreading at an alarming rate and we need to do research now,” said Danny McDonald, a Texas A&M University doctoral student who is examining the tiny creature’s biology and ecology. "There’s no time to wait.”

But serious research requires serious dollars.

The Texas Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture will fund in-depth research, but only if the ant gets the pest classification. And to do that, state officials say more research must be done. It’s a sticky Catch-22.

"This is absolutely idiotic,” said Tom Rasberry, the exterminator for whom the ant is named because he fought against them early on.