Whoever named crazy ants “crazy ants” is a genius. Because these fellas are kind of crazy, and it makes their inevitable takeover of the United States that much more fun/menacing to write about. Especially when we find out that they’re actually on a quest to destroy your computers, phones, and air conditioners.
If you haven’t heard, these armies of ants are making their way northward from South America, killing all the other ants that cross their path. This isn’t just bad for the other ants; it’s not great for humans either. First, the crazy ants are messing up ecosystems. Also, they don’t build nests of their own — they’re too wild and crazy to settle down like that! Instead, they swarm in whatever is available — often electronics, like A/Cs.
Their small size, less than an eighth of an inch in length, allows them to crawl inside cellphones, computers and appliances, which all are home to protected cavities and are “just great” for these ants, Le Brun said. Most commonly, they swarm inside sheds and pumps in rural areas, which has been a problem for industries in Texas and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, he added. When the crazy ants enter these devices their bodies can create connections between electrical contacts, which can lead the circuits to short out and electrocute the ants. This causes them to release an alarm pheromone, a scent ants use to communicate that they are “under attack,” likely attracting the ants’ kin to come and fight, LeBrun said. This creates a vicious cycle that can leave appliances broken and full of dead (and angry) ants.
So, basically, you end up really sweaty, with piles of dead ants in your air conditioning unit. (“When you open these things up, you see thousands of the ants, just completely filling them up,” one exterminator told Live Science.) It’s all kind of reminiscent of Spring Breakers — equally dark and depressing, but with fewer bikinis.
- Crazy Ants Invade Electronics , Live Science