You really could not make this up, despite the fact that the computer bugs in question are called 'crazy rasberry ants' and reported quotes from victims range from the ridiculous "If you’ve seen a car racing, that’s how they are. They’re going fast, fast, fast. They’re crazy" to the sublimely ridiculous "You'd get 3,000 or 4,000 ants inside and they create arcs. They'll wipe out any computer." Yet apparently it is real and the ants have invaded Houston by the billion, consuming pretty much any electronic goods that get in the way.

It seems that the little critters came in aboard a cargo ship, and are related to a species known to inhabit the Caribbean area. So far there are reports of everything from computers to burglar alarm systems, electricity meters to telephone exchanges and, yes, even the sacred iPod being destroyed by the ravenous insects.

If proof were needed as to how serious the threat is then you only have to listen to the man after whom the ants are named: bug exterminator Tom Rasberry. He warns that the NASA Johnson Space Center has called in the bug hunters and claims that NASA already has colonies of the critters on-site. "It could devastate the facility" he says.

My favourite quote comes from The Times which has a resident who has been sweeping up the ants from her patio and scooping them out of her pool by the cupful as saying "They’re itty-bitty things, and they’re just running everywhere." If you have never seen an ant, that could be a truly useful bit of information.

Seriously though, the ants which are actually of the paratrenicha species have spread to five counties in the Houston area at least and are causing plenty of damage it would seem. Entomologists think it would be impossible to eradicate them completely because of that widespread distribution, and anyway we should think positively: crazy rasberry ants eat fire ants and fire ants sting humans whereas crazy rasberry ants only eat your computer kit. True, but I am told that they also eat ladybugs, and Attwater Prairie Chicken hatchlings, and kill plants and still bite us although not with the ferocity of a fire ant.

Personally, I'm not overly concerned. Not least because I live several thousand miles away in England so it's not my problem. Out here in the English countryside I am more concerned with getting ready for the annual invasion of the thunderbugs; tiny critter less than 1mm in length which manage to get into laptop screens, actually inside the screen, where they quickly die and do a passable impression of a dead pixel. Have suffered from the things for years now, every time when the first rape crops are harvested from the fields adjoining our property in fact.

Hmmm, I wonder if a few crazy rasberry ants could wipe out the thunderbug population...

and next week a cargo ship with produce arrives from in England from the Bahamas...
Let's hope the critters don't survive in our wet and chilly climes.