Crazy ants (Paratrechina longicornis) are so named because of their frantic movements and erratic behavior. While this species originated in Southeast Asia, it is known worldwide as an invasive species and environmental pest.
Adult crazy ants are dark brown to black in color and measure approximately 2.2 to 3 mm in length. Crazy ants’ antennae have 12 segments without a club, and their antennae are elongated. Crazy ants’ legs are extremely long and give it a very distinct appearance. While both male and female crazy ants have wings, males are rarely seen in flight, and females shed their wings after mating.
Crazy ant workers are omnivorous, feeding on both dead and live insects, honeydew produced from insects, fruits, plant secretions, seeds and a variety of household food items such as sweets, meats, grease and liquids.
Crazy ants are highly versatile, living in both moist and dry habitats. They nest in rotten wood, soil, the cavities of trees and plants, trash and under rocks and buildings. Crazy ants cannot survive extremely cold climates and may infest houses and buildings when weather changes.
Crazy ant nests can be located by following workers as they carry food back to their colonies. Crazy ant colonies are small in number, containing 1,500 to 2,500 individuals. However, each colony houses from 8 to 40 queens. New colonies may be formed when a queen and some workers break away from the main colony, known as budding.
Crazy ants may be more difficult to control than other ant species because they dwell both indoors and outdoors. In addition, crazy ants forage long distances from their nests, making it difficult to identify their colonies.