The non-native ant species, Nylanderia fulva, was discovered on a Texas property back in 2002, by a pest controller, Tom Rasberry. The insects then became known as “Rasberry ants” before later earning the nickname “crazy ants”. The latter nickname comes from the ant’s erratic movements. These ants are relatively small and they move slowly, as their annual marching distance is about equal to the distance of two football fields. Despite this, the ants have become known for their nuisance marches across urban and suburban regions of Texas and other Gulf Coast states.
Texas A&M University researchers have trapped crazy ants in 23 Texas counties, most of which are clustered in the southeastern portion of the state. Not surprisingly, these ant marches bring them into homes and buildings, and they are commonly found in Texas homes all year round. Due to the massive size of crazy ant colonies, which are also 100 times denser than all other ant colonies found in any given area, crazy ant infestations can reach maddening proportions. On one occasion, a Texas man who had been sharing his home with thousands of crazy ants finally flipped out and pulled an AR-15 automatic gun on a large crazy ant nesting-mound that had been in his front yard. Luckily, his wife’s actions caused him to calm down before he pulled the trigger, but this particular instance still serves as an illustration of how frustrating a crazy ant infestation can become.
Crazy ant colonies are so large that researchers are not exactly sure how populated a particular nest can become. One experiment had Texas researchers placing bottles around an infested outdoor area. Once the bottles were retrieved shortly afterward, they were filled with a total of 180,000 individual ants, far more than have been found in red imported fire ant colonies, which are also notorious for being massive in size.
Have you ever found a group of pale-colored ants moving erratically within your home?