Crazy Ant

Crazy-Ant
  • Common Name(s): Crazy Ant
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Family: Formicidae
  • Common Species: Paratrechina longicornis
  • Commonly Confused With: Other Ant Species

Characteristics

How to Identify?
Crazy ants are either brown or black in color. They can sometimes appear blue due to the hairs covering their body. They range from 0.2 to 0.3 centimeters in size. When looking at the abdomen (back section of an insect) you will see one node (bump) connecting it to the thorax (middle section of an insect). You can differentiate termites and ants by looking at the antenna. Ants have an antenna that looks bent or elbowed while termites have a straight, beaded looking antenna. Another key to helping identify crazy ants is the extremely long first section of its antenna. Crazy ants move with very rapid, erratic movements; this can also be a useful identifying feature.

Habitat

Where do they live?
These ants can live in some pretty inhospitable conditions. They are able to adapt to both extremely dry and extremely moist conditions. Crazy ants tend to forage for food rather far away from their habitation sites. Outdoors, they can reside almost anywhere, including soil, leaf piles, trash, decaying wood, and more.

Food Source

What do they eat?
Crazy ants eat a variety of foods. They forage for seeds, other insects, or household crumbs. While outdoors they can also feed on honeydew produced by sap-feeding insects. They protect the sap feeders and in return the sap-feeders allow them to feed on their honeydew (sweet secretions from the backside of the insect); this process is referred to as trophobiosis.

Activity

What do they do?
These ants do not have a stinger and, as such, are not capable of inflicting a sting. They are more of a nuisance than anything else.

Fun Fact

When threatened, these ants have a unique habit: they bite the threat and spray formic acid into the wound. You can read more about this and crazy ants at the link under the Additional Resources tab.

Additional Resources

Source(s)

Author: G. Wyatt West– B.S.E.S University of Georgia 2017; Board Certified Entomologist
Photo Credit: Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org

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