Tiny 'crazy ants' moving into Georgia

Sept. 21, 2013 at 7:16 PM

ATLANTA, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Tiny South American "crazy ants," given that name because of their erratic movements, could overwhelm other ant species in Georgia, experts say.

Nylanderia fulva, commonly known as the tawny crazy ant, also has a liking for electrical outlets and the innards of computers and other electronic devices, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Friday.

"I found that they can cause problems," said James Morgan, an agricultural extension agent with the University of Georgia. "When they're in the house they can get into wall sockets and short-circuit things."

The ants were first discovered in the United States in Texas in 2002. Since then, they appear to have been moving eastward across the South.

Morgan said they got their name because they "sort of crawl around erratically."

Joe MacGown, research technician for the Mississippi Entomology Museum, said crazy ants could displace an earlier invader, the red fire ant. The fire ants build large mounds and can inflict painful stings, something the crazy ant does not do.

"The main thing is that they have super-high numbers," MacGown said. "They call them super colonies. You're talking about massive populations, and they can affect other wildlife, even small birds and lizards. They just eat everything."

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