Fri 29 Aug 2014
Posted by sugarland
For the most part, when it comes to pests, ants usually aren’t too far up the list. Yes, fire ants are nothing to joke about and ant colonies in your home are never fun, but compared to mosquitoes, bees, and cockroaches, those other little guys aren’t that bad. Well, that may now be up for debate thanks to South Louisiana’s newest nuisance: the crazy ant.
As their scientific name is a bit of a mouthful, “crazy ant” has really stuck. Plus, it explains these little maniacs well. What else could you call a species of ant so psychotic that even the feared and aggressive fire ants want nothing to do with them?
The real reason they’re called crazy, however, is because of their unpredictability and massive numbers. Although most ants may look chaotic, they actually function quite rationally. Even their winding trails, where one ant follows the next, is dictated by a constant reassessment of the path of least resistance.
But it doesn’t seem you can say that for crazy ants. Their paths resemble something closer to rioting with massive amounts of them descending all at once and then spreading in erratic swarms.
Habits and Traits
Fortunately, they do have some habits and identifying traits. For one thing, these insects are reddish-brown, almost amber. They grow to be roughly an eighth of an inch long. While they love honey dew, crazy ants are also quite fond of electronics. That’s about as particular as they get, as the ants have been found nesting in just about anything. Though they obviously travel on foot, crazy ants also aren’t shy about hitching a ride. This is how they managed to get to Texas, Louisiana and a few other southern states all the way from South America.
Crazy Ants in the South
Currently, these misfits have been reported in Texas (24 counties), Florida (20 counties), Mississippi (3 counties) and Louisiana (at least 2 parishes). However, those numbers seem to increase just about every day.
Aside from the type of nuisance you could expect from hyper-aggressive ants, recall that they’re fond of electricity. These ants are attracted to wiring for its warmth, but often take their affections too far and end up getting themselves electrocuted. Unfortunately, this impromptu form of extermination isn’t cheap. Their tab is close to $147 million worth of electrical damage every year.
Worse yet, it seems like the South will remain under siege for the foreseeable future. Killing off crazy ants is hard work and even after the initial victory, repeated treatments are necessary or these vermin return even crazier than before. This is usually because a treated area is usually bordered by one that isn’t. So although plot A gets all their crazy ants killed off, plot B is full of more just waiting to move in.
A Sign of Things to Come
Something will need to be done about them soon, however, as we have seen examples of what happens when crazy ants are allowed to run the roost. Colombia, which is where the species have been for far longer, has seen practically all other species of ants killed off. Crazy ants are so aggressive, they can actually take down small animals and kill them via asphyxiation. Even cattle have had to put up with full-scale attacks that see these ants climbing all the way to the much larger animal’s nostrils and biting away at them (they lack stingers).
Since conventional pesticides are ineffective against crazy ants the EPA has announced that it has approved a new insecticide to be used in most parishes in Louisiana. Regardless, everyone else should be on the lookout. At the first sign of crazy ants, call the experts at Sugarland Exterminating for a free estimate, (337) 233-3800.