New invasive species of ant are called Crazy ants.
Crazy ants don't bite or sting.
HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -
There is a new invasive species of ant terrorizing at least one Hancock County neighborhood. Millions of the pests are creating all sorts of problems for residents in the Lakeshore community.
The hard to kill ants are attracted to and can destroy anything with electronic components.
"It is a very severe nuisance," said Christian Stephenson Mississippi State University Extension Service agent.
Thousands and thousands of ants are creating some major headaches for folks who live in Hancock County's Lakeshore community.
"It's miserable," Hancock County resident Dean Alley.
Alley said the ants have literally taken over his Lower Bay Road property.
"They love to get into the walls. They get into your receptacles. They short that out. They get into your pump. They just smoother it out and shut it off. I had to do without water a couple of times within the past three years. I've done put two new pumps on that well," Alley said.
"Visiting homes of people who have this ant species everyone we've visited has had some experience with electronics shorting out just do to the press of the bodies of ants getting into them," Stephenson said.
Stephenson said the ants have destroyed computers, televisions and basically anything with electrical parts.
"As the insects get into electronics they either crushed in some way by a moving part or they can be killed by being electrocuted. The crush of their bodies is what eventually causes those electronics to fail," Stephenson said.
So far the ants have only been found in two South Mississippi Communities.
"It was first found here in Hancock County and it's also been found in Jackson County near Ocean Springs. We haven't found it anywhere else in Mississippi yet. They are called three different things depending on where you are they've been established in Florida for something like 40 years. If you're in Florida they call them Caribbean crazy ants, if you're in Texas, where they've been established for some time, they are called raspberry crazy ants. And they are originally from Caribbean South America," Stephenson.
The so called crazy ants are also creating an indoor nightmare for Noami Moran's Lower Bay Road home.
"They're just terrible. Spray them and you spray them and you can see dead ones, but the next day they've got others just crawling right over them," Hancock County resident Naomi Moran said.
"Unfortunately eradication of the species is really just not possible. What we want to look for as far as dealing with the species is management control attempting to keep the populations lower. We do have some recommendations on how that can be done," Stephenson said.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is part of research underway in the Southeast to come up with the best ways to control the ant populations and prevent them from spreading.
"The spread of the species is naturally very slow fortunately. One of the things we want to avoid is moving the ant colony ourselves. So we want to be careful moving any potted plants or similar things out of areas that do have these ants so we don't want them to spread more quickly through the state," Stephenson said.
Stephenson said fortunately the crazy ants don't bite or sting. But the sheer numbers of them makes having them around unbearable.
"The populations get so high that you can have thousands of ants over every square yard of a field," Stephenson said.
Alley said he's spending between $100 to $150 a week on pesticides just to keep them out of his yard so that his children can come out and play. He said if relief doesn't come soon he's going to go broke.
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