AUSTIN, Texas — At Thursday’s meeting, Austin City Council approved a study aimed to fight area ant infestations.

The funding will go towards University of Texas to conduct a study on tawny crazy ant expansion and experimental treatment within Balcones Canyonlands Preserve sites in an amount not to exceed $25,300.

THE UT Researchers will introduce the microsporidian pathogen by inoculating tawny crazy ant colonies. In prior research, experts found the pathogen may significantly reduce TCA populations.

There's been an invasion of what are called rasberry crazy ants in the Balcones Canyonlands, north of Lago Vista with a heavy population in Travis County is in southwest Austin by Convict Hill Road and State Highway 71.

The ants suffocate wildlife and can destroy electrical infrastructure.

Unlike bites from other ant species (ie: fire ants), rasberry crazy ants do not have a painful bite, but they effectively terrorize people by racing up their feet and around their bodies, coursing everywhere in their impossibly disordered orbits. They’re called crazy ants because their behavior is frantic. 

The ants can overtake beehives and destroy the colonies or even smother bird chicks struggling to hatch. In South America, where scientists now believe the ants originated, they have been known to obstruct the nasal cavities of chickens and asphyxiate the birds. 

To learn more about the ants and other Texas pests, visit TAMU's entomology department's site