Crazy ants are non-native insect pests that have been spreading rapidly throughout the southern states for the past decade. Crazy ants originate from South America and they get their common name from the erratic manner in which workers move while foraging. Their irregular foraging movements make crazy ants easy to recognize, but the reddish-brown workers from this species are also unique for their unusually long and slender legs. Crazy ants have now established an invasive population throughout much of the southern US, and evidence suggests that these highly destructive ant pests are quickly advancing to more northern locations in the US. Although crazy ants don’t inflict bites or stings to humans, the pests plow through all types of landscapes as one massive cluster of ants. These ants can inflict significant and costly damage to lawn-grass, and a single step onto an infested lawn will prompt hundreds of these ants to swarm over a person’s entire body within a period of 3 to 5 seconds. In addition to tearing up yards, crazy ants also infest homes where they frequently infest electrical devices, appliances and fuse boxes, resulting in power outages and destroyed smartphones.
Crazy ants are considered serious insect pests to landscapes and structures for several reasons, but the massive number of individual ants that dwell within one single colony make infestations very difficult to address adequately. These ant pests can establish nests in virtually any location as long as moisture levels are adequate. For example, crazy ant nests have been found below garbage cans, in potted indoor plants, beneath lawn-debris and within wall voids. Crazy ant populations peak between July and November, and now is the time of year when residents throughout Georgia should be best prepared for possible crazy ant invasions on residential properties. Many infestations start after residents place infested plants or soil on their property, so bags of mulch, potted plants and uprooted plants should be thoroughly inspected before being applied to lawns and/or gardens. Periodically inspecting properties for ants that move erratically may allow residents to seek professional help controlling the insects before they establish a lasting and stubborn infestation.
Do you believe that you have encountered crazy ants before?