Crazy Ant

Official Name

Nylanderia fulva

Size

2 to 4 mm

Color

Reddish-Brown or Brownish-Black

Geographical Location

Found In Southern U.S.

Common Household Location

Electrical Sockets

Identifying Characteristics

  • Distinctive habit of moving about erratically.
  • Elongated antennae, which features 12 segments and no club when seen under magnification.

Official Name

Nylanderia fulva

Size

2 to 4 mm

Color

Reddish-Brown or Brownish-Black

Geographical Location

Found In Southern U.S.

Common Household Location

Electrical Sockets

Identifying Characteristics

  • Distinctive habit of moving about erratically.
  • Elongated antennae, which features 12 segments and no club when seen under magnification.

Notes

Crazy ants get their name from their seemingly erratic movements. While other ants will queue up neatly in search of food, crazy ants move about in a chaotic and disorganized fashion. Crazy ants are also known as tawny crazy ants, hairy crazy ants, and raspberry crazy ants. They’re an invasive species that will build large nests and cluster so close together that they’re sometimes mistaken for dirt until they move.

 

Crazy ants have a strange preference for electrical sockets and may come swarming out if you remove the plate from an inhabited socket. They can short out electrical equipment that they nest in. There are many theories as to why they short out equipment in this way. One is that the ants give off alarm pheromones when they’re shocked, which draws others to the area where they’re in turn shocked, creating a buildup of ants that can damage equipment. A signature indication of a crazy ant infestation inside or outside electronics is the massive pile of dead ants that can build up anywhere residents attempt to eradicate them.

 

Another distinctive feature of the crazy ant is the acid sheath that covers and protects it. This acid covering helps the crazy ant stand up to aggressive fire ant neighbors, acting as an antidote to their venom. This ant secretes the acid from a glandular opening at the tip of the abdomen. It can stand on its hind and middle legs to touch the opening to its mandibles and thus spread the acid over its body, detoxifying fire ant venom. Crazy ants have even been observed invading and taking over active fire ant nests.

 

Crazy ants will consume nearly any substance, including honeydew excretions from other insects, honey from bees, overripe fruit, and insects or small mammals. Crazy ants attack in great numbers and can easily overcome prey far larger than a single ant.

 

These overwhelmingly prolific ants can build expansive colonies with millions of ants. Several groups of colonies may exist together, exacerbating the problem. Colonies can have multiple queens. Crazy ants are an overwhelmingly big problem and one that’s very difficult to eradicate. If you’re dealing with an infestation, you should be very careful about moving items from your home to another location, as you may carry ants with you and spread the infestation. You should always seek prompt assistance from an extermination professional when you’re dealing with these pests.