Invasive fire ants have been a thorn in the sides of Southerners for years. But another invasive species, the so-called "crazy" ant — that many describe as being worse — has arrived and is displacing fire ants in several places.

"When you talk to folks who live in the invaded areas, they tell you they want their fire ants back," said Edward LeBrun, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, in a statement from the school. "Fire ants are in many ways very polite. They live in your yard. They form mounds and stay there, and they only interact with you if you step on their mound."

Crazy ants, on the other hand, "go everywhere," invading homes and nesting in walls and crawlspaces, even damaging electrical equipment by swarming inside appliances. [Image Gallery: Ants of the World]

A study published in the April issue of the journal Biological Invasions found that in areas infested with crazy ants, few to no fire ants were present. Exactly how they are able to outcompete fire ants is so far unknown. In areas with crazy ants, the researchers also found greatly diminished numbers of native ant species, according to the study. [continue]

Tags: ants, insects, invasive species

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