Crazy ants look and act a little crazy, which explains how they got their name. These ants thrive in warm conditions and are a well-known pest throughout the United States. They can be difficult to control because of their long-distance foraging habits, but they are not known as a harmful household pest.
Distinguishable by their unusually long longs and long antennae, in comparison to their small size, black crazy ants are approximately 1/8” long. They are uniformly black in color. Their name derives from the mis-directional manner of their movements when they are disturbed by an outside presence.
Black crazy ants tend to nest outdoors, usually under rocks, mulch, or piles of leaves. They can enter buildings, usually through cracks in the foundation, or around windows and doors. Once indoors, they are attracted to sweet items, such as food left on the counter or in a pantry. They may also be found in trails along the edge of a baseboard or along the edge of a carpet. Note that a trail of black crazy ants is usually loosely organized and the ants seem to be wandering some of the time.
The crazy ant is usually dark brown or black in coloring, but gray and dark red crazy ants have also been spotted. These ants are quite small, measuring just 1/12 to ⅛ of an inch in length. They have long antennae and legs that give them a unique – or crazy – appearance, and their behavior is best described as erratic. They don’t follow a set trail like other ant species, and instead run around in inconsistent, jerky patterns to find food.
As a household pest, crazy ants are fairly tame. They are a nuisance and they will eat food that is left unattended, but they cause no real damage. Agriculturally, however, crazy ants can cause serious problems. These ants can cause significant impacts to crops and plants because they are known to spread or promote other damaging insects, such as aphids and mealybugs.
Crazy ants cannot handle cold, harsh weather and will look for indoor shelter during the winter months. However, the mild winters in Florida mean that crazy ants can remain active throughout the year.
Black crazy ants are a nuisance pest and are not harmful to people or property; however, they are very popular in Florida and can be very troublesome for a property owner. Regular inspections and direct treatment to the black crazy ants’ nest is the best way to deal with this particular ant. They are not attracted to ant bait generally, so treating them regularly, and as early as they are detected, is the best preventative method for taking care of this pest.
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