Ants cripple computers in Texas

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Electrical systems in Houston have been failing after a huge influx of ants, according to reports from Associated Press..

The ants are resistant to over-the-counter poisons and have ruined pumping equipment at sewage stations, damaged computers and caused fire alarms to malfunction.

Like many insects, the ants are attracted by electronic devices.

"At this point, it would be nearly impossible to eradicate the ant because it is so widely dispersed," said Roger Gold, an entomologist at Texas A&M University.

The ants probably arrived in a cargo shipment. Their cousins, commonly called crazy ants, are found in the south eastern US states and the Caribbean.

The spring weather has caused the population to explode and they are now affecting businesses and homes across Houston.

"They're itty-bitty things about the size of fleas, and they're just running everywhere," said Patsy Morphew of Pearland, who is constantly sweeping them off her patio and scooping them out of her pool by the cupful.

"There's just thousands and thousands of them. If you've seen a car racing, that's how they are. They're going fast, fast, fast. They're crazy."

Ants can be a major problem around electrical items as they eat through cable insulation on power lines and congregate on metal conductors, causing shorts in electrical lines, junction boxes, traffic and street lights and air conditioners.

It is unclear why ants are so attracted to electricity. A study by the University of Texas found that they prefer DC to AC current, but could find no reason for the attraction.
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