Crazy Ants

crazy ants. courtesy CNN
crazy ants_courtesy CNN

Colonies of tiny terrors are invading the U.S. They’re called crazy ants, and they’re on the move eating up just about everything in their path.

Crazy ants!  Sounds like a children’s toy, or your mother’s eccentric sisters, but these things are a lot less fun.

Tawny crazy ants are native to South America; they’re invasive in North America; and they’re quickly making themselves at home. They’ve turned up in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. They travel well, unfortunately, so they could’ve arrived here on ships.

crazy ants 2. courtesy CNN
crazy ants_courtesy CNN

Their scientific name is “Nylanderia Fulva,” Which is why I’m calling them crazy ants. The other reasons: they can colonize in huge numbers, take over food sources, leaving nothing for other species to eat, and they’re omnivores; if another ant crosses them, the crazies will attack and destroy.

This could have a significant impact on North American ecosystems. Plus, these ants will come into your house. They’ll nest in your crawl spaces and in your walls and they reach very high abundance’s in your house – and they make terrible pets.

They like to nest near electrical equipment, like the switchbox in your house or the wiring in your car. They can short that out. And that’s just one reason they’re crazy.

These things are quick to swarm, their trails are haphazard and wide, and they’re hard to get rid of. Can you call an exterminator?  Yes. Can they kill crazy ants?  Yes. Could the ants come back?  That’s the kicker.

You kill the ants in this spot, and they just flood in from the surrounding habitat. So the ability to control them is really limited.

And don’t think poison bait will send them packing to that great ant hill in the sky: Tawny crazy ants, won’t eat it!

People who’ve been infested say they want their fire ants back.

The good news is, crazy ants don’t sting you like fire ants. The bad news is, well, that’s about the only good news.

There is something we can do…or not do. Reproductive crazy ants don’t fly; they hitch rides with humans to new areas. So we can make sure that plants are ant-free before we transport them, and that our cargo is free of ants before we travel. We may be able to keep the pests from spreading. Otherwise, there’s no telling what end there’ll be, to their ant-ics.

– Story courtesy Carl Azuz, INN News, May 30, 2013

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