The tawny crazy ant (Nylanderia fulva), an invasive pest, has been spreading recently, according to reports from Texas and Louisiana. The ant has also been called the Rasberry crazy ant, invasive crazy ant, brown crazy ant, Caribbean crazy ant, and the hairy crazy ant, but the Entomological Society of America recently decided the common name of this insect should be the tawny crazy ant because the Latin word “fulva” in its scientific name means “tawny.”
The ants are tiny, about 1/8 of an inch long, but their numbers are incredibly high and it is not uncommon to see millions at a time. According to the Center for Urban and Structural Entomology at Texas A&M University, “Tawny crazy ants can been found in enormous population densities. They are social insects that live in large colonies or groups of colonies that seem to be indistinguishable from one another.”
The ants do not have stingers and they rarely bite. However, they can be incredibly annoying and people whose yards are infested often choose to remain indoors.
Tawny crazy ants can short-circuit electrical equipment as they swarm into component boxes, and they have caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Their numbers are so great that they can displace other ant species — even fire ants. However, after experiencing the crazy ants, people have said that they miss the fire ants.
The following video from the University of Texas College of Natural Sciences shows just how crazy they are:
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