Crazy Ants Can Drive You…

By Chris Williams on August 25, 2011.


Q. We’ve been invaded by tiny ants that run all over the place, in all directions. An entomologist identified them as “crazy ants.” Is that a joke or is that their real name?


A. That’s their real name alright. Or, in technical terms, that’s their common name. Their real name is Paratrechina longicornis. They got this name for good reason; they dart here and there in a crazy manner. Another identifying characteristic of the crazy ant is its extremely long legs. Its antennae do not end in a club and the first segment of the antenna is very long, twice as long as the head. So, overall the crazy ant looks very gangly. It’s tiny though, only 1/16 to 1/8 inch long, and is dark in color.


Crazy ants are found in every state but they are more common in southern states where they can live outdoors year round. In our area, crazy ants tend to invade homes and other buildings when weather cools in the fall, after rains, or when the aphid honeydew supply dries up. They are most active indoors from fall until spring thaw.


Indoors, crazy ants will nest in voids or foundation walls, under floors, behind baseboards and window frames, near hot water pipes or heaters, and in potted plants. They often locate their nests under trash or debris and they’ll nest in both moist and dry sites. They can swarm in the spring, but more often new colonies are created when a group breaks away from the parent colony.


Crazy ants are the gypsies of the ant world! Their nests are flimsy and shallow and can be split or moved quickly and frequently. A typical colony of two thousand workers and 40 queens can be relocated in a matter of minutes! Insecticide application is one disturbance that prompts them to move their nests. That makes them very difficult to control.


The best control for ants is to find and treat the nest. But it’s hard to follow crazy ants back to their nest since their trails are so erratic. It’s also not easy to control crazy ants with ant baits because they have seasonal food preferences that keep changing. They tend to prefer sweets in spring and fall, and insects and other protein foods in the summer. But, there is always some type of human food (or pet food) available to feed on. Workers will forage for food up to 100 feet from the nest site.


As you can imagine, trying to control crazy ants is not a do-it-yourself job. You need professional help! Give Colonial a call. We do ants so you don’t have to!



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