Crazy Ants

Facts, Identification & Control

Scientific Name: Paratrechina longicornis

General Information

Crazy ants 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.

Appearance

What Do They Look Like?

  • Color: Adult crazy ants are dark brown to black in color
  • Length: They are approximately 2.2 to 3 mm in length
  • Appendages: These insects’ antennae have 12 segments without a club and are elongated. Their legs are extremely long, which gives them a distinct appearance.

How Did I Get Crazy Ants?

While their movements don’t appear as organized as most other ant species, these pests swarm relentlessly in a disorganized, irrational manner when they find a food source. Since crazy ants eat everything from produce to meats and sweets, households are a favorite place to forage. They are pests in both indoor and outdoor habitats and frequently build colonies inside potted plants.

Crazy ants are notorious for traveling long distances to find sources of food to eat, but they may also nest in yards and under homes. Cracked foundations and other entryways can allow the insects to move indoors.

How Serious Are Crazy Ants?

These pests live in colonies larger than the average ant nest. As such, the sheer number of ants in the house may surprise residents. In addition to exploring kitchens for food, crazy ants are an invasive species that was introduced from tropical regions of the world. The pests often displace native ants and may even outcompete and push out more aggressive varieties like fire ants.

Signs Of An Infestation

Signs of a crazy ant infestation include evidence of the pests trailing to and from their nests, or crazy ants seen indoors foraging for food and water.

How Do I Get Rid of Crazy Ants?

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.

What Orkin Does
Preventing and controlling crazy ants begins with a thorough inspection. Proactive or preventive actions include exclusion to prevent ants from getting inside your home and sanitation to eliminate their food sources. In addition, removing as many of the various conditions that create protective nest sites as possible helps to minimize the size of the ant population.


Behavior, Diet & Habits

What Do They Eat?
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.

Where Do They Live?
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. They cannot survive extremely cold climates and may infest houses and buildings when the weather changes.

Colonies
Crazy ant nests can be located by following workers as they carry food back to their colonies. Colonies are small in number, containing 1,500 to 2,500 individuals.

Reproduction

Each crazy ant colony may contain from 8 to 40 queens. New colonies may be formed when a fertile queen and some workers break away from the main colony and establish one of their own. This process is known as budding.