New Species of Ant, Called 'Crazy Ants,' Attracted to Electronics and Difficult to Kill

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A new species of insect people are referring to as the "crazy ant" is attracted to electronics and is impossible to kill with normal pesticide.

It is called "crazy" because it has been on an erratic trail across the country, originating in Argentina and Brazil. 

It was first spotted in Houston in 2002 and has spread to 21 counties within Texas. They are also in 20 counties in Florida and a few spots in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Ed LeBrun, University of Texas researcher, said the ants are omnivorous and kill other species, like cattle and songbirds.

On top of that, it is difficult to kill them, as the normal chemicals that are used to kill common red ants are not effective for this species. People with crazy ant infestations have to call an exterminator. 

Along with attacking animals, the ants are oddly attracted to electronics. It starts when one is electrocuted by wiring and dies. The scent the ant emits when it dies from electrocution attracts other ants, who then get electrocuted as well. This has caused $146.5 million in damages for Texas, as transformers shut down when hundreds of ants fry the insulation or the switches get stuck.

LeBrun said the ants have also eliminated the fire ant.

"Perhaps the biggest deal is the displacement of the fire ant," LeBrun said. "The whole ecosystem has changed around fire ants. Things that can't tolerate fire ants are gone. Many that can have flourished."

"New things have come in. Now we are going to go through and whack the fire ants and put something in its place that has a very different biology. There are going to be a lot of changes that come from that."

Sources: Daily Mail, ABC