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What’s so crazy about the crazy ant?

220px-Paratrechina_longicornis_casent0134863_profile_1Have you ever wondered why it is called a crazy ant? It is actually named the Raspberry or tawny crazy ant and got its moniker from its erratic and quick movements. This rough and tumble ant has formic acid that covers its body and works as an antidote to the venom of the fire ant. Pretty cool, huh? Actually this is even cooler, crazy ant colonies are sometimes found living within a fire ant mound. Another thing that sets these ants apart is the fact that the colony has multiple queens instead of a single one like other types of ants. All of these peculiarities (or cool things) add up to one crazy ant.

It was difficult classifying the crazy ant. It was not until 2012 that this ant got its official classification as the Nylanderia fulva. This ant was the first insect to show the ability to negate the venom of another insect. Covered in brownish and red hairs, this ant is smaller than a fire ant at 3.2 millimeters. Unlike other ants, these do not create nests or mounds, preferring to make their home under rocks or inside already existing mounds. These ants gravitate towards a warm and moist area like coastal locations. They tend to eat small insects and enjoy sweet plants.

The tawny crazy ant is a native of South and Central America, especially the Columbia urban area and Argentina. They have been slowly making their way north into the southeastern United States. They were first documented in Texas in 1938. However in 2002, a local Texas exterminator noticed that the rate of migration into the United States was increasing at a rapid rate. These crazy ants make their home from Texas to Georgia without a sign that their spread is slowing. They are beginning to arrive in the North Carolina area, so keep an eye on your yard for any ants moving erratically.

Dealing with the tawny crazy ant has proved to problematic for the people of the southeast. This stems mainly from the fact that these ants are not attracted to normal baits. Also, because each colony has multiple queens, it is more difficult to exterminate them. All of the queens need to die in order for the treatment to be effective. Over the counter pesticides have little to no effect on these sturdy ants.

If you find that you have a colony of crazy ants living on your property, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

 

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paratrechina

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