'Crazy' ants take over – Researchers at the University of Texas are warning that the invasive species from South America, "tawny crazy ants." has the potential to change the ecological balance in the southeastern United States. Photos courtesy Joe A. MacGown/Mississippi Entomological Museum.
'Crazy' ants take over – Tawny crazy ants are omnivores that can take over an area by both killing what's there and starving out what they don't kill, said Ed LeBrun, a research associate with the Texas invasive species research program at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory in the College of Natural Sciences.
'Crazy' ants take over – "The whole system 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," said LeBrun.
'Crazy' ants take over – The crazy ants nest in walls, crawl spaces, house plants or empty containers in the yard, researchers said.
'Crazy' ants take over – Scientists are unsure how far the ants, which are native to Argentina and Brazil, may spread in the United States. They have been found mostly in wetter environments with mild winters in parts of Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.