Nothing to do with Raspberries, Exactly
You may soon be seeing media coverage of a newly discovered threat to the already endangered honey bee population called Rasberry crazy ants.
This previously unnoticed type of ant is thought to have entered the U.S. by way of a Texas port and is now busily at work destroying honey bee larvae and other things that human beings value.
Rasberry crazy ants are named for an exterminator named Tom Rasberry who first noticed their destructive habits in 2002. They’ve already caused millions of dollars of damage in Texas.
Honey bees are not their only target. The ants are attracted to electrical equipment and chew through insulation, causing short circuits.
Their scientific name is paratrenicha species near pubens.
The epithet “crazy” comes from the fact that these ants don’t travel in straight lines, but wander from side to side.
Since their scientific name is not likely to catch on, we can expect to see the word “Rasberry” in the news, a circumstance that may lead to confusion among insecure spellers.
The name of the fruit is spelled raspberry.
raspberry: 1623, earlier raspis berry (1548), possibly from raspise “a sweet rose-colored wine” (c.1460), from Anglo-L. vinum raspeys, origin uncertain, as is the connection between this and O.Fr. raspe, M.L. raspecia, raspeium, also meaning “raspberry.” One suggestion is via Old Walloon raspoie “thicket,” of Gmc. origin.
Raspberries can self-pollinate, but cross-pollination carried on by bees improves fruit weight and shape. Most of the fruit we like to eat, however, depends entirely on bees for pollination.
As a volunteer Master Gardener I’m especially aware of the plight of the honey bee. It’s astounding to me that some politicians and journalists seem to find the topic laughable.
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