Crazy ants were first discovered in south Texas areas and most likely originated from Africa or the far east. The common notion is that the ants hitched a ride with some cargo transported from one of those areas. One of the alarming parts to crazy ants is that they are resistant to current pest control applications. Crazy ants are so aggressive they are known to have taken over fire ant colonies as well as live animals.
There is not a risk of crazy ants migrating up to our area of Tennessee for a number of years (unless someone brings them here advancing their migration) but if you are traveling in the south east you might very well come across them. One of those other crazy parts to the crazy ants behaviors is that they love electronics. Yes, if you are outside and some batch of ants start swarming your laptop, those might very well be some crazy ants. You’d be well suited to brush them off and remove yourself from the area.
5. One of the biggest threats crazy ants bring is damage to electrical equipment. For example, P.J. Whitehouse of Heights Plant Farm in Houston recalls a horrific experience they had: “Heights Plant Farm did a simple ‘Deliver and Dig,’ a service we provide. It was a narrow, pre-formed bed between a fence and a driveway and behind the driveway gate. The installation of 1- to 3-gallon perennials started at about 2 feet behind the steel control box for the gate operations. There were no problems for the majority of the installation, but as the project neared an end the gate suddenly closed on its own, locking one of our employees behind it. He was agile and jumped the wooden fence to ‘escape’ and no sooner than he did, the gate swung open. By this time we were 40 feet away from the gate and the control box, but still had a bit more to install. Once more, the gate closed but this time it swung open immediately and the gate’s arm broke and began spinning wildly. The client had just come outside as this was happening and she was a bit vexed. I assured her there were no wires in the ground that we could have cut; no gate operations could have been affected by our digging. Well, as I later found out after offering to replace this client’s electronic gate motor, crazy ants had short-circuited the wiring in the box and it so happened to occur while we were working! Apparently, crazy ants are attracted to electrical wiring and when they are electrocuted they release a pheromone that calls other ants to the ‘rescue.’ The mass of ants can cause the wiring to fail, which it did in this case.”
If you are making your way south for a few days vacation, business, or family visits be vigilant for these crazy micro nuisances.