Longhorn Crazy Ants

Longhorn crazy ants have slender bodies with very long legs and antennae, are about an eighth of an inch. Their coloring is brown/black with a bluish tint. These ants are a threat because they are able to quickly reproduce by mating with their siblings thereby creating large populations. Large amounts of crazy ants are getting into electrical systems where they destroy wiring; short-circuit industrial equipment, traffic lights, electric motors, even computers. Crazy ants are becoming household pests in and outside of the home, covering large areas of landscape with their erratic behavior.
Black Crazy Ant

Illustration of a Longhorn Crazy Ant (Paratrechina longicornis); also known as the Black Crazy Ant

Cloning Queens

The queen Longhorn produces genetic clones (her daughters) and clones of her mate (sons) which is known as double cloning. One colony of crazy ants can have anywhere from eight to 40 queens! It´s no wonder Longhorn crazy ants have become the number one invasive ant species throughout the tropics. Originally from Southeast Asia and Melanesia, Longhorn crazy ants are now encroaching across the United States from Florida to California. These ants will forage long distances for food, making it difficult to find and destroy their colonies.

Nesting Behavior

Longhorn crazy ant colonies may be small to midsize but each colony can have up to 40 queens! This will often account for colonies to split and relocate to new areas. Nests are usually found outdoors wherever there is moisture, especially under fallen trees, stones, in trash and debris, and especially around the roots of plants in mulched beds. Indoors, Longhorn crazy ants may nest beneath floors and in areas of the walls where there´s an empty space. Attracted to heat, Longhorns sometimes nest near hot water pipes and heaters.

Management of the Longhorn Crazy Ant

The Longhorn crazy ant is a “tramp,” ant which means it´s an invasive species that has traveled by way of commerce and/or human assistance. Longhorn crazy ants do not sting but they do cover massive areas of the ground and when they bite, they curve their abdomens forward to inject a formic acid into their victims. These ants will not respond to over-the-counter products; a profession pest service technician is needed to eradicate them thoroughly through the use of chemicals. Homeowners, however, can cut back on irrigation, repair leaks, ensure proficient drainage as well as remove any fallen tree branches, rocks, debris, and leaf litter.

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