Foreign "Crazy Ants" Attacking Southern U.S.

Monstrous "crazy ants" from Argentina and Brazil have invaded Texas and the American Southeast, driving out the already awful fire ant and making life even more miserable for those living in the South.

Supersized mosquitos and the "Giant African Land Snail" are among the recent southern invaders, but the dreaded crazy ant is so awful that the infamous fire ant goes running when the crazies come to town.

Worse for southern humans, the crazy ant particularly enjoys getting inside electronics. The air conditioners, televisions and remote controls that make existence just barely feasible in the Deep South are particular targets of these South American menaces. When the insane ants are electrocuted inside these devices, an "alarm pheromone" is released—and that brings even more crazy ants into the electronics, to make even bigger nests.

Named for their erratic and terrifying behavior, the tawny crazy ant was first discovered in Houston just a decade ago, probably after arriving at the Port of New Orleans. Now they're all over the South.

"When you talk to folks who live in the invaded areas, they tell you they want their fire ants back," said LeBrun. "Fire ants are in many ways very polite. They live in your yard. They form mounds and stay there, and they only interact with you if you step on their mound."

Crazy ants don't even bite like the evil fire ants, and people still prefer the fire ant.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the ant wars are turning even weirder.

[Image courtesy of Joe MacGown, Mississippi Entomological Museum, via University of Texas.]