Ants are some of the most annoying insects in the animal kingdom. Want to have a picnic? Sorry, ants are gonna invade your food. Wanna sit on that stump? Sorry, some fire ants are going to make your life a living hell. Now it seems that ants are gunning for something even worse – our electronic devices.
ABC News reports that there’s a new species of ant that first arrived in Texas from South America, but they’re quickly making their way across the U.S. The ant, officially called Nylanderia fulva, is more commonly known as the “tawny crazy ant.”
The ants, which are only an eighth of an inch long, have made their way from Texas to Florida, Misssippi and Louisiana. The ants have been on the move since 2002 and their progress so far has been astounding and rather worrisome.
What makes this particular species of ant even more worrisome is that its small size allows it to nestle inside of your electronic devices. It seems to be particularly fond of smartphones and laptops. Once inside, the ants will shock themselves on the internal circuitry. Upon death, an ant releases a pheromone that attracts more ants to the scene and those ants eventually get fried as well. Soon after, your phone will stop working on account of it being full of dead ants.
It’s not just smartphones either as these ants are incredibly destructive to manmade and natural environments. The ants are omnivores and therefore pose a threat to plants and animals by monopolizing food sources. They even pose a threat to larger species like cows.
Researchers urge travelers to affected states and South America to check all luggage and electronic devices for crazy ants. The ants have only been able to travel as far as they have thanks to catching rides with humans.
For more on the crazy ant, check out this video about the species’ destructive habits:
[Image: PLOS One]