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'Crazy ants' invade the U.S. Southeast

livescience fire ants electrical equipment no natural predators nylanderia fulva usa live science obnoxious short curcuit alarm pheromone

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#1 Hum

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 14:17

New research says Rasberry crazy ants are displacing established populations of fire ants all over the Gulf Coast

Aside from their nasty sting, fire ants are a relatively docile bunch. They'll leave you alone as long as you keep an eye out for their mounds. But a new, and possibly more treacherous threat is mounting in the form of invasive "crazy ants," which are beginning to displace fire ant populations from Texas all the way east to Florida, notes Douglas Main at LiveScience. Here's what you should know about America's newest pest menace:

Populations of the Rasberry crazy ant (Nylanderia fulva) originally started popping up in Houston back in 2002. Since then they've spread to all the states bordering the Gulf Coast. According to LiveScience's Main, the ants' "crazy" moniker was derived from their "quick, seemingly random movements." While the bugs do indeed sting, crazy ants' bites are less painful than those of fire ants. But that's not even the main problem...

Crazy ants, for reasons that are still unexplained, have a mysterious attraction to electrical equipment. They'll swarm a circuit and die of electrocution, giving off a chemical that, strangely, attracts more ants. The newly charred bodies pile up, causing the electronics to fizzle out shortly thereafter — a big problem for places like airports.

Back in 2008, Scott Solomon at Slate noted that "some ant species are capable of detecting electromagnetic fields and may even use Earth's magnetic field as a directional cue." Crazy ants' unmitigated attraction to electronics may be an evolutionary side effect.

Crazy ants "go everywhere," says Edward LeBrun, a researcher at the University of Texas in Austin who led the study — into your home, walls, underneath flower pots... anywhere. LeBrun and his team, publishing their findings in the journal Biological Invasions, found that wherever populations of crazy ants appeared, fire ant nests dwindled, unable to compete with the sheer numbers of crazy ants.

The stubborn ants themselves have no natural predators, which enables their colonies to balloon to 100 times the size of other local ant populations. Crazy ants also don't eat the normal pest control poisons used on fire ants, which means you'll have to call an exterminator to hopefully keep them in check.

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#2 n_K

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 14:26

Funny this should be mentioned, we had something on tv 2 weeks ago or so about this. It made no mention of 'crazy ants' but said fire ants go for high voltage places and kill themselves, etc.
"They'll swarm a circuit and die of electrocution, giving off a chemical that, strangely, attracts more ants." it's known why they are attracted, because the other ants detect that they are under attack and swarm to that location to fight the invader, but being electricity they'll never win.

#3 siah1214

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 14:41

Funny this should be mentioned, we had something on tv 2 weeks ago or so about this. It made no mention of 'crazy ants' but said fire ants go for high voltage places and kill themselves, etc.
"They'll swarm a circuit and die of electrocution, giving off a chemical that, strangely, attracts more ants." it's known why they are attracted, because the other ants detect that they are under attack and swarm to that location to fight the invader, but being electricity they'll never win.

Sounds like an awesome plot for Antz 2.

#4 OP Hum

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 15:12

have a mysterious attraction to electrical equipment ...

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#5 OP Hum

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 14:47

Exterminator Mike Matthews got the call because the home's air-conditioning unit had short-circuited. Why an exterminator for a problem with an appliance? Because of the crazy ants.

Matthews has seen crazy ants disable scores of air-conditioning units near Austin, Texas, where the invasive creatures have been a real headache. The ants swarm inside the units, causing them to short-circuit and preventing them from turning on. Often the switches inside them need to be replaced, thanks to the ants, said Matthews, who works for the Austin-area pest control business The Bug Master.

"When you open these things up, you see thousands of the ants, just completely filling them up," Matthews said.

The ants first appeared in the United States in 2002 but have become more of a menace in the past few years, spreading to many areas of the Gulf Coast, particularly Texas and Florida. The ants are obnoxious because they reproduce in large numbers, sometimes outnumbering all other ants 100-to-1.

One reason is that crazy ants are always looking for cavities to nest in — unlike most ants, they don't excavate their own holes and tunnels, beyond minimal expansion, LeBrun said. That is also the reason they move into people's houses, nesting in any area with protected holes and cavities, such as the insides of walls and in basements and crawlspaces. Their small size, less than an eighth of an inch in length, allows them to crawl inside cellphones, computers and appliances, which all are home to protected cavities and are "just great" for these ants, Le Brun said. Most commonly, they swarm inside sheds and pumps in rural areas, which has been a problem for industries in Texas and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, he added. When the crazy ants enter these devices their bodies can create connections between electrical contacts, which can lead the circuits to short out and electrocute the ants.

This causes them to release an alarm pheromone, a scent ants use to communicate that they are "under attack," likely attracting the ants' kin to come and fight, LeBrun said. This creates a vicious cycle that can leave appliances broken and full of dead (and angry) ants.

Their sheer abundance also adds to their destructive power. In one case, the ants quickly spread to 90 out of 150 air-conditioning units in an apartment building in Waco, Texas.

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#6 +techbeck

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 14:50

Isnt this the same post basically...made by you?

 

http://www.neowin.ne...#entry595702228

 

:p



#7 Brandon C.

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 15:38

Merged threads.

 

Crazy ants be crazy.



#8 Ci7

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 15:43

remind me of this 

 

ItCameFromRedAlert_Poster.jpg



#9 OP Hum

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 15:46

I wonder how you can kill off the ants, on a large scale ... set up high voltage boxes ?

 

Anteaters ?



#10 Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 15:50

New minigame coming soon

All Ants Must Die!!!