There’s a new pest in town, and this is his mug shot.
A new strain of Caribbean crazy ants is only miles from the Alabama state line. Neighboring Jackson County, Mississippi just reported crazy ant infestations this week.
So what is this new strain of crazy ants? Ellen Huckaby with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System explains, “What makes them crazy, gives them the name crazy ant, is the way they move. If you’ve seen a line of sugar ants in your house, they march along in a nice straight line, and they move fairly slowly. But the crazy ants move around really quickly and erratically, so they move crazy and that’s where they get their name.”
What kind of concern does this new ant pose? Ellen told us, “They will bite but their bite is very minor and they’re not aggressive. The problem is in their numbers, where you’re talking about hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of fire ants, you’re talking about colonies of billions with the crazy ants.” That makes crazy ant colonies at least ten times bigger and up to one hundred times bigger than the average ant colony.
So what to if you find crazy ants in your backyard? You will need more than just a can of bug spray. You will have to call a professional exterminator. The EPA has approved short-term use of a powerful pesticide called fipronil to combat the problem.
Crazy ants appear to prefer the warm, rainy conditions on the Gulf Coast. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida all have reported infestations. The bottom line seems to be these ants aren’t dangerous as much as they’re just a hard pest to get rid of.
They could be coming soon, to a backyard near you.