- Colour Dark brown to black
- Size Workers are about 3 mm long
- Description Crazy ants have unusually long legs and antennae with 12 segments
- Notes Crazy ants move quickly and erratically.
The life cycle of a single crazy ant will vary depending on its role in the colony. A colony’s longevity depends on its queen, and in the case of crazy ants, there can be many. This secures a longer life cycle for the nest since some queens and workers may section off from the main colony, known as budding, secluding themselves from the rest of the main colony and creating a nest of their own. In the case that a queen dies, another is ready to take her place and continue laying eggs. For this reason, crazy ants are persistent, and colonies can survive for extended periods.
- A queen egg incubates for 18 to 20 days before transitioning into the larval stage, which lasts for about 34 days. Once fully grown, queens can live for several years, impressive longevity within their species. Throughout their lifetime, these queens demonstrate a remarkable fertility, laying thousands of eggs which may hatch into various types of castes.
- A worker egg incubates for a similar amount of time, 18 to 20 days, and is fully grown from a larva in 16 to 20 days. In stark contrast to the queens, worker ants exhibit a significantly reduced lifespan, only 76 to 84 days.
Some studies have established a correlation between seasonal variations and the rate of egg production in various ant species1, 2. For instance, the crazy ant thrives in regions characterized by warmth and high humidity. In contrast, in the cooler climates of Canada, ant colonies tend to focus on reproduction in the spring and summer seasons. Warm, wet weather may create an environment where crazy ant queens produce more eggs and thus expand their nests more quickly.
1. Bar, Adi, Lior Shalev, and Inon Scharf. 2022. “Egg-Laying Behavior of Cataglyphis Niger Ants Is Influenced More Strongly by Temperature than Daylength.” Biology 11 (12): 1714. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11121714.
2. Abril, Silvia, Jordi Oliveras, and Crisanto Gómez. 2010. “Effect of Temperature on the Development and Survival of the Argentine Ant,Linepithema Humile.” Journal of Insect Science 10 (97): 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1673/031.010.9701.
How to Identify a Crazy Ant Nest
In warmer climates, crazy ants will nest outdoors in either dry or moist environments. Preferred habitats for these ant colonies include areas abundant in trash, mulch, rotting wood, or dense vegetation, which provide optimal conditions for their proliferation. Due to their ability to bud and thus have multiple colonies linked to one another, a large colony, also known as a super colony, can cover several hectares of land.
In regions where the seasons change, crazy ants may move their colonies indoors to avoid colder temperatures. Nesting sites may encompass voids in walls or cracks in masonry, under carpeting, and in or under potted plants. In Canada, crazy ants can be found inhabiting these locations.
It’s possible to identify crazy ants if you believe you have an infestation or have found a nest by getting up close and noticing specific details.
- Crazy ants are physically distinct due to their extremely long antennae and legs.
- Unlike other ants, crazy ants do not walk in a single file or straight line but jerk around in a zigzag pattern.
Why do I have crazy ants?
Crazy ants prefer the soil of potted tropical plants, but also nest in mulch, garbage, rotten wood, and tree cavities. Outdoors, they feed on dead and live insects, nectar, aphids, honeydew, seeds, and overripe fruit.
In homes, the pests nests underneath flooring, in potted plants, inside walls voids and appliances and will feed on almost anything in your kitchen, including meats, sweets, grease, and liquids.
How worried should I be about crazy ants?
Crazy ant colonies have multiple queens, meaning the ants breed at an alarming rate. After just a few weeks, you could have an infestation of crazy ants in your home. Not only is this disturbing, but it also throws local ecosystems out of balance. Crazy ant colonies are immense, and thus capable of impacting other species around them, potentially displacing honey bees and other ants3.
Once inside your home, crazy ants take over, crawling through kitchens and other rooms in their distinct, erratic manner, swarming relentlessly when they find a food source.
Crazy ants can also short-circuit electrical devices4, like televisions and AC units, when they nest inside. People living with crazy ant infestations have reported a constant skin-crawling sensation and a sense of helplessness.
Due to the high rate of reproduction of crazy ants, it is imperative you take action as soon as you suspect an infestation. Only a professional pest control service will be able to stop a crazy ant infestation in their tracks and stop them from coming back.
3. Harmon, Katherine. “Honeybees Face New Threat in Texas: “Crazy” Ants.” Scientific American Blog Network, 7 Aug. 2009, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/news-blog/honeybees-face-new-threat-in-texas-2009-08-07/
4. Main , D. (2013, June 25). Why “Crazy Ants” Swarm Inside Electronics. Livescience.com. https://www.livescience.com/37720-crazy-ants-invade-electronics.html
How can I prevent crazy ants from invading?
- Wipe up spills and crumbs immediately
- Vacuum your home frequently
- Repair broken window and door screens
- Seal any holes along the building’s exterior
Signs of a Crazy Ant Infestation
Crazy ants, similar to other ant species, are motivated by food sources. While they can find sufficient resources outside, crazy ants may expand their foraging grounds and find their way inside from an open door, window crack, or other means.
Despite preferring honeydew made from other insects, sweet and sugary items that can be found in your kitchen will do just fine for crazy ants. If you have left food out and notice ants with erratic or so-called “crazy” movements on or around it, this can be a telltale sign of a pending crazy ant infestation.
Outside of your kitchen, keep an eye out in your yard for:
- Fallen trees or limbs
- Excess leaves or overgrown vegetation
- An overabundance of mulch
Crazy ants can establish a nest outdoors before moving inside, so it is important to monitor your property for what could be a nest or attractive area for one to be built. Where possible, maintain your yard by cleaning up debris and trimming overgrown foliage to mitigate the potential for these ants to take up residence close by.
If you suspect an ant infestation, it is best to call a professional pest control company like Orkin Canada. Our proficient technicians are capable of confirming the identity of ants invading and developing a strategic plan for removal. We understand the distress involved with discovering a crazy ant nest within your residential or commercial premises, which is why our services are comprehensive and involve preventative measures designed to ensure the problem does not come back. Contact us to learn more.
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