It’s been almost twenty years since they arrived, but they haven’t lost any of their vigor. In the southern United States (especially in Texas, Florida, Arizona or Mississippi), tawny crazy ants continue to proliferate. Their presence is so massive, reports Slate , that they sometimes manage to form devastating “ant rivers” for the ecosystems they cross. Innumerable, they are also very aggressive.
The real name Nylanderia fulva arrived in the region from South America . Now firmly established, they can cause considerable damage. Thanks to their small size – a few millimeters – they can infiltrate almost anywhere, and are particularly fond of electrical installations, which they are able to blow up in a very short time.
As their name suggests, wild ants are not the last to use violence. They are, in fact, capable of producing formic acid, which they project on their adversaries. A weapon that they do not hesitate to use on animals much larger than them: attacks on spiders, centipedes, chickens and rabbits have been reported. Slate even adds that they can sometimes attack… cows.
Fortunately, American scientists seem to have found the solution. They discovered that Nylanderia fulva are particularly susceptible to Myrmecomorba nylanderiae, a fungal pathogen that is harmless to humans. Once installed on an ant, the fungus hijacks the latter’s fat cells to its advantage, eventually killing it. Thus, once an ant population is infected, it systematically ends up decreasing. In 62% of cases, estimate the researchers who discovered the fungus, they even end up completely disappearing. Enough to stem, in just a few years, the proliferation of these crazy ants.