Crazy Ants

By Chris Williams on February 12, 2014.

Carpenter ant on wood floor

Well, here we go again. There is more snow coming according to the forecast. Yay! (No, seriously!) Since I seem to have all but abandoned my alpine skis for Nordic skis (or ‘work skis’ as some of my friends like to call them) I’m always excited for more natural snow cover to keep things fresh.

January thaw— not good. Rain storms in wintertime— eh, not good. Twelve inches of snow maybe, now that is good!

A couple of things I’ve really started to notice lately and one of them is that dusk settles in now at about 5:30 pm. The other thing is this. Got a quick two inches of snow Sunday night and I didn’t get out to clear it right away, but when I finally got out there in the late afternoon, half of it was already gone! It was another cold day and the air temperature did not get anywhere near 32 degrees so we’re now getting a lot of assistance from the stronger sun.

Guess what usually follows this heating effect of the sun? Homes and other buildings are heating up, and ants start waking! No, they are not coming in from outdoors, but if you start to see them in your home, they’ve been living there somewhere. Even during the January thaw I saw some carpenter ants staggering across the carpet of a rental property office.

So What Else Is Coming Out Now?

Pavement ants usually make their appearance in February, and a colleague mentioned to me about his neighbor having odorous house ants showing up. I know the title is about the crazy ant and while you might think all ant behavior is a bit crazy, I’m just referring to another invasive species marching its way across Texas, Florida and many other southern states. The culprit is Nylanderia fulva, (aka Tawny crazy ant or Raspberry crazy ant named after the Texas pest control guy who first discovered them back in 2002. Like any other non-native species, this South American ant is overwhelming native ant species in some areas and may be a threat to ground nesting birds and livestock. They’re even giving the red imported fire ant a run for its’ money in some areas.

One peculiar habit and an economic impact of this ant is its propensity to invade electrical equipment by the millions causing short circuits and switches to fail. And, it is not just outdoor electrical equipment that is getting invaded, because many homeowners have reported that their televisions, computers, and other home electronics are being rendered useless by these amazingly annoying ants. One really great thing about the Tawny crazy ant is that it is a tropical species native to Brazil so I highly doubt we’ll be seeing them showing up in New England anytime soon!! So, be thankful (maybe not!) you’re living in the frozen northeast and bring on the snow!!


References and more links to information about crazy ants are:



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