The Southeastern region of the United States is battling an invasion from a very resilient species known as Crazy Ants (Nylanderia fulva). Called crazy for a reason, these ants are known to travel in random, nonlinear movements when looking for food, and will not be afraid to eat through electrical equipment or take over household appliances while doing so.
Only an eighth of an inch long, this ant species is very hard to catch before an invasion. Crazy Ants tend to colonize in huge numbers and take over food sources. They are also omnivores, (“all-eaters”) leaving no food for other species, destroying anything that comes in contact with them.
Native to Argentina and Brazil, Crazy Ants are thought to have come into the Southeastern United States through the Houston Harbor, and in the suitcases of travelers. Already invasive in Texas, Crazy Ants have made their way to Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, with no plan of stopping anytime soon. Crazy Ants will reside in crawl spaces and in your walls, nesting near electrical equipment and household appliances.
Yes, Crazy Ants can be very harmful to North American ecosystems and to your home. Although they do not sting like Fire Ants, Crazy Ants are destructive and are not subject to stay in one place.
Crazy Ants are highly attracted to electrical equipment including televisions, laptops, and cell phones. Once inside, they could nest there for their entire life. Crazy Ants will swarm an electrical circuit and die of electrocution, giving off a chemical that, strangely, attracts more ants. The newly charred bodies pile up, causing the electronics to fizzle out shortly thereafter – a big problem for such a technology-reliant society.
As if matters could not get worse, Crazy Ants are also taking over other species of ants, such as the Fire Ants, and are immune to most over-the-counter ant spray and poison.
The stubborn ants themselves have no natural predators, which enables their colonies to balloon to 100 times the size of other local ant populations. Crazy Ants also do not eat the normal pest control poisons used on Fire Ants, which means you'll have to call an exterminator to hopefully keep them in check. This is the first step in getting rid of the invasion and will need to be maintained for two to three months following the visit.
Because Crazy Ants do not fly, their major source of movement is from human transportation. People can prevent a Crazy Ant infestation in their home and other locations by transporting these ants to new areas. Researchers are asking Americans to double-check their suitcases if they have traveled to any areas with a Crazy Ant invasion.