Crazy Ants

Crazy ants are originally from the old world tropics. Reports on infestation throughout the United States arose primarily after the ants were introduced in shipments of goods such as in the soil used for the tropical potted plants.

These ants can be identified as reddish or dark brown to black and are about an eighth of an inch long. When you inspect them closely, they have noticeable longer legs and antennae than other ants their size. In general, crazy ants have loose, unorganized trails. When they’re disturbed, they run erratically with no apparent direction – thus their common name, “crazy” ants.

Each colony is relatively small with multiple queens and a few thousand workers. Some larger colonies containing tens of thousands of ants may be linked together by foraging trails.

Their nests may be found in wet or dry soil or under objects on the ground such as potted plants, landscaping timbers, firewood, and piles of debris. They may also live next to foundations in landscaping mulch and thick vegetation.

Nest that are made above ground can be found in gutters clogged with debris and the undersides of gravel on flat roofs. Once the ants get inside, they may nest in structural voids, including walls, under carpet and under and between undisturbed items stored on floors. Indoor nests may be found in indoor planters and plotted plants.

Crazy ants feed on natural foods including living and dead insects, and on “honeydew” produced by plant-sucking insects (aphids, scales). Crazy ants are also attracted to human foods that are greasy and sweet. The ants can quickly and completely cover the food that they find.

The crazy ants that you see indoors are wanderers and come from outside nests. They may access buildings by traveling on the ground or on branches and vegetation touching the structure. They then enter through areas such as weep holes and exterior cracks and crevices around windows and doors. Indoors, they may be seen foraging along baseboard and carpet edges.

1. Has very long antennae and legs compared to body

2. Antennal segment twice as long as head

3. Color dark brown to black body with gray sheen

4. Does NOT sting

5. Monomorphic workers size: 1/16 – 1/8 inches

If you think crazy ants have infested your home, it is VERY important to immediately contact a certified, licensed pest management professional for inspection. Make sure to let them know about any structural leaks or moisture problems.

SOURCE: PCO of Georgia vol. 24

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