A threatening herd of Tawny crazy ants continues to spread across the southeastern United States. Dubbed “crazy” because of their unpredictable behavior and tendency to swarm, experts say they are a threat to the local ecosystem as well as expensive electrical wiring and circuits.
“You can stick your hand on the ground and they’ll swarm all over and you’ll look like a zombie,” Austin resident Bill Leake told CBSNews.com. He first noticed the reddish-brown ants on his 10-acre property about five years ago. The property has always been infested with red fire ants, he says, but then one morning he noticed a long trail of much smaller ants.
“I thought nothing of it, but I started seeing more and more of that stuff,” he recalls. “Within a few months we noticed we weren’t being bit by fire ants anymore, but we also started noticing that those little ants were everywhere, in quantities far greater than we’d ever seen ants before.
First sighted in 2002, the tiny crazy ants were formally identified in 2012 as Nylandia fulva, a species indigenous to northern Argentina and southern Brazil. Scientists believe the ants were inadvertently transported here by people traveling from South America.
In the U.S., they are often referred to as Rasberry crazy ants, named for the Houston pest control operator who first spotted them.
Read more at CBS NEWS.