It sounds like a bad horror movie doesn’t it? The invasion of the ‘crazy’ ants is all too real for many residents in the southern portion of the United States. Transplanted from Brazil and Argentina, this new type of ant is incredibly invasive and even has developed a taste for electronics.
Scientists refer to it as the Nylanderia fulva, but those of us not in the scientific community prefer to refer to it as the “tawny crazy ant.” It is referred to as crazy because of the path it leaves behind. Resembling the path of a drunk staggering home from the bar more so than a deliberate choice of steps. It has weaved its way up from its original siting in Houston and now has taken residence in 21 Texas counties, 20 counties in Florida, and a few other locations in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Its cousin, the red ant, used to be the scariest insect for many Texas residents. The bites of the red ant were enough for most people, however the ‘crazy’ ant has far surpassed its cousin on the nuisance list.
‘Crazy’ ants are invasive, unlike their relative red ants, they will take over anything they can occupy. Millions of them can fit into the tiniest of spaces due to their small size. The ants are only an eighth of an inch long, and are willing to take over just about any type of territory. These ‘crazy’ ants have been known to take over entire recreational vehicles, homes, and even computers.
Bad for the ecosystem, these bugs will eat anything in their path. With bites that will scare away wildlife from the area, they also will take over any available food source. Being omnivorous, they aren’t picky as to what they put in their body. These insects will eat literally anything. Meat, vegetables, electronics and wiring, whatever they can find to fill their stomachs.
Once a food source has been found, the colony will work together to monopolize it. Securing it for themselves and fending off those who attempt to share in their bounty. This is terrible for the local ecosystem, which depends on certain food sources being available for the other species living in the area.
Difficult to fend off, the invasive ‘crazy’ ants are immune to most insecticides. Sprays and powders that kill the common red ant don’t have any success against these ‘crazy’ cousins. A call to pest control is the only way that they can be removed from an area. If you see them on your property, don’t wait to call, they invade quickly and will cause vast amounts of damage as a result.
Last year alone the ‘crazy’ ant was responsible for an astonishing $146.5 million in damages in Texas according to ABC. This is largely due to their being attracted to electronics. Known to take over an entire computer, living inside the gutted remains after they ate their fill, they will chew through any type of gadget and leave you with the bill to replace it.
It may sound like the title of a terrible horror movie, but the invasion of the ‘crazy’ ants is all too real in the southern United States.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
The Guardian Express
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