Crazy ants are becoming a serious problem in the southern part of the United States.
Researchers at the University of Texas believe this species could eventually upset the ecological balance in the region. The South American ants, known officially as “Tawny crazy ants,” are capable of wiping out entire colonies of fire ants.
Ed LeBrun, a research associate for the College of Natural Sciences, believes the biggest problem crazy ants pose is the displacement of the fire ants. LeBrun said the entire ecosystem change after the arrival of the fire ants. Problems could arise if the species is wiped out of the area.
“Things that can’t tolerate fire ants are gone. Many that can have flourished. New things have come in. Now we are going to go through and whack the fire ants and put something in its place that has a very different biology. There are going to be a lot of changes that come from that,” he explained.
Crazy ants are classified as omnivores. Whatever the insects fail to kill generally tend to starve to death. In some areas where crazy ants have already set up shop, the fire ants are practically non-existent.
“Fire ants are in many ways very polite. They live in your yard. They form mounds and stay there, and they only interact with you if you step on their mound,” LeBrun explained.
Crazy ants, which get their name from their quick and random movements, go wherever they please. They tend to nest in walls, house plants, or crawl spaces. They’re also fond of infesting whatever objects you might have lying around your yard. While they don’t sting like fire ants, getting rid of these pesky invaders can be a very expensive process.
Researchers believe it will take time for the crazy ants to completely take over. Since they don’t spread like fire ants, these pests can be contained. LeBrun said it’s very important that people do not accidentally transport the ants to another location.
Have you encountered any crazy ants where you live?
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