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You can likely tell by its name, but the Crazy ant is one of the most problematic insects troubling the southeastern United States today. This incredible species was discovered in Texas just 20 years ago and has clearly made a lasting impression.
Their supercolonies are nearly impossible to control, and their atypical behaviors continue to baffle scientists and pest control experts.
The Crazy ant is relatively small with a dark brown, reddish, or blackish body. And although they are difficult to see at first glance, it has tiny little hair-like projections, or setae, all along its body. The Crazy ant also has much longer antennae and legs than other ant species.
Their colonies are massive and include the following:
- Many queen ants
- Worker ants
- Larvae and pupae
- Winged males and reproductive females
The majority of the colony are worker ants. They can be identified by their similar size, typically 1/8 inch.
The Crazy ant is almost always identified by its behavior rather than its appearance. In a patch of grass, you’ll see these ants scurrying around in rapid movements. This erratic behavior is where the Crazy ant gets its name.
They do not build the iconic ant mound with a central opening. Instead, Crazy ants home their queen and larvae under objects like rocks, wood, and piles of natural debris. A single colony can include millions of members.
One of the strangest behaviors of the Crazy ant is its tendency to be found around electric wires and equipment. They have been known to short circuits and clog switches leading to malfunctions in electrical systems.
Additionally, these insects are absent of a stinger yet still release chemicals. The Urban and Structural Entomology Program at Texas A&M University describes the behavior:
“In place of a stinger, worker ants possess an acidopore on the end of the gaster (abdomen), which can excrete chemicals for defense or attack. They are capable of biting, and when bitten, they cause a minute pain that quickly fades.”
It has been reported that this defense has caused the death of small livestock, like chickens, via asphyxia. This occurs when the animal has been attacked multiple times by many colony members.
Worker Crazy ants are omnivores and feed on both insects and vegetation. And if they can get their tiny jaws around human food, they certainly will. These pests thrive on pantry foods, making them a major nuisance in the home. They do exceptionally well in places like convenience stores, where they can transport crumbs from dropped food to their nests.
The following are some of the natural food sources for the Crazy ant:
- Live and dead insects
- Plant sap
This ant is a semi-tropical species that prefers warm and humid climates. However, they have been found thriving in dry conditions, as well. Nevertheless, they seem to be limited to warm weather and have not yet spread to cooler regions.
Texas was the first state to observe Crazy ants in 2002. Today, we have seen populations spread into Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida.
Now, these ants do not fly and couldn’t possibly travel long distances on foot, so it is assumed that the rapid spread is partly due to human transportation. For example, potting soil that has been unknowingly infested with a Crazy ant colony is shipped to another county or state, and the population thrives in its new environment.
The other reason for such rapid distribution is their ability to grow in numbers quickly. And typical obstacles like chemical sprays are no match for this fascinating and resilient species.
Have You Spotted Crazy Ants in Your Home or Yard?
In the last decade, Crazy ants have become a significant issue indoors. They have invaded homes and businesses of all kinds and show no mercy. Their colonies contain millions of ants that are difficult to track and entirely eliminated because of their atypical ant behaviors.
Rather than foraging for food in distinct paths, like most ant species, the Crazy ant is unpredictable. It makes their nests a challenge to locate and ultimately get rid of.
All that being said, there has been some success in eliminating these pests. To start, it is best to know how to prevent the little buggers from invading your home or yard in the first place.
Preventing an Infestation of Crazy Ants:
- Clean up after spills and messes immediately.
- After use, wipe down the dining table, kitchen counters, sink, and other areas.
- Get rid of any dead insects you find in the home or yard.
- Take the trash out as often as possible.
- Be sure your lawn is cut regularly to avoid providing prime habitats for Crazy ants.
- Remove objects from your yard such as rocks, piles of debris, and fallen branches or logs.
How to Get Rid of Crazy Ants with Drive Bye
When it comes to eliminating these problematic pests, it is best to call in the professionals. Even though they’ve made a home in the United States for at least 20 years now, they remain a challenge to remove from properties, indoors and outdoors.
However, with the experienced experts at Drive Bye Exterminators, you can be sure you are in good hands. Our team will inspect your home inside and out before determining the past plan of action. Then, with the right tools and knowledge, we will eliminate the Crazy ant infestation as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Trust Drive Bye to get rid of one of the most challenging insects. If you suspect a Crazy ant infestation- or any pest invasion- reach out to us today.