Upon first reading of the words “crazy ants,” one might think that is not a real thing — perhaps it’s just someone being like, “You’re so crazy, ants!” Alas, crazy ants are a real species — Nylanderia fulva — currently swarming all up in the Gulf Coast states’ business, and they present a very real problem for your electronics.
Our pal Marc Perton at gdgt sheds some light on these feisty, ostensibly insane in the membrane little buggers. Turns out they absolutely love dining out on anything from cellphones to air conditioners.
It’s not that they have an actual appetite for wires and circuit boards, but they do have a yearning for home. And home, well it’s where the swarm of crazy ants is, which can be the inside of any cozy personal electronic device. Once they’re in there, they can wreak havoc on the electrical workings inside, shorting out circuits and basically mucking about.
If one of them gets fried in the process, a pheromone wafts out to warn other ants that they’re in danger and then all the other ants freak out and die. Anyone who’s ever tried using a tablet with a whole lot of dead crazy ants inside will tell you it’s not going to work.
What’s a crazy ant hater to do? If they’re showing up in your area, just keep your gadgets inside, first of all. If you absolutely must text your new boyfriend/girlfriend that you are sitting on the grass rightthisverysecond, perhaps an airtight case would be advisable.
They can travel inside as well, so take steps you’d employ against any kind of critter infestation: Lock up tempting ant food — your flour, sugar and whatnot — away from any bugs in sealed containers. It’s also a good idea to seal up any cracks in windows or doors where they could be sneaking in as well.
Got an old phone you haven’t recycled? Perhaps a decoy crazy ant farm in the yard could be useful. Just don’t be surprised if they come knocking at your door anyway.