“Crazy Ants” Invade Southeastern US

Apparently worse than fire ants

    Photo: College of Natural Sciences via Flickr

There’s a new kind of ant taking over the Southeast, and it's bad enough to make people miss the previously maligned fire ant.

Originally from South America, the Tawny crazy ant was first spotted around Houston, Texas, in 2002. Since then, they've fanned out across the Gulf Coast, taking over areas usually dominated by fire ants. And unlike fire ants, which tend to stick to the outdoors, crazy ants have no problem infiltrating homes.

“There are videos on YouTube of people sweeping out dustpans full of these ants from their bathroom,” researcher Ed LeBrun, who co-authored a study on the crazy ants said in a press release. “When you talk to folks who live in the invaded areas, they tell you they want their fire ants back.”

The ants appear to have no natural predators, and are impervious to the poisons used to control fire ant mounds. Unchecked, their colonies can easily reach 100 times the size of local ant colonies, which they directly attack.

One bit of good news: They don't sting like fire ants.

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