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crazy ant

Q:  Can you tell me what kind of ant I have found?

A:  The ant you brought into the office is called a crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis, occurs in large numbers in homes or outdoors. They often forage long distances away from their nests, so nests are often difficult to control. The name “crazy ant” arises from its characteristic erratic and rapid movement not following trails as often as other ants. The crazy ant is not native to the United States but originally from Asian or African.  In the United States the crazy ant can be found from Florida to South Carolina and west to Texas. The antennae of the crazy ant have 12-segments without a club and are extremely long. The stinger is lacking but the crazy may bite an intruder and curve its abdomen forward to inject a formic acid secretion onto the wound. On warm, humid evenings, large numbers of males gather outside nest entrances and may mill about excitedly. Workers patrol vegetation and other structures nearby. Workers feed on live and dead insects, seeds, honeydew, fruits, and many household foods. The crazy ant thrives in places such as gasoline stations, convenience stores, and sidewalk cafes where workers may be seen transporting crumbs and insects attracted to lights. They obtain honeydew by tending aphids, mealybugs, and soft scales.  In cold climates, the ants nest in apartments and other buildings where they are potential pests year round. The crazy ant is highly adaptable, living in both very dry and rather moist habitats. It nests in such places as trash, refuse, cavities in plants and trees, rotten wood, in soil under objects and also have been found under debris left standing in buildings for long periods of time. Non-chemical control is based on exclusion through good housekeeping practices and cleanliness eliminating food sources. Crazy ants nest outdoors so prevention of their entrance by caulking exterior penetrations and weather-stripping may aid in their control. Indoors chemical controls are based on baits, dusts, and spot treatments with residual sprays. Outdoor treatments include chemical formulations as baits, granules, dusts, and sprays. Read and follow label instructions and precautions before using any insecticide.