Paratrechina longicornis is an ant species that is better known as the “longhorn crazy ant,” or the “black crazy ant.” This ant species’ native home cannot be determined with certainty, but compelling evidence that has recently been brought to light suggests that the longhorn crazy ant species originated from Southeast Asia, and not Africa, as was the belief among entomologists for decades. Many entomologists and pest control professionals refer to this species as being invasive in the United States, and while it is certainly a non-native species in the country, the presence of longhorn crazy ants does not seem to have a detrimental effect on the various ecosystems where they have established a thriving non-native population. That being said, the longhorn crazy ant is a “tramp ant” that has established a non-native population throughout much of the world, and they are significant agricultural crop pests.
Longhorn crazy ants are now considered to be major nuisance pests in every area of the US where their colonies can be found. The Gulf Coast states see the greatest abundance of longhorn crazy ants by far, but these ant pests maintain a significant pest presence along the mid atlantic and up into the northeastern states, and they can be found in homes located in every region of the contiguous US, including Hawaii. These ants have also been found in Sweden and well into Canada. Surprisingly, the longhorn crazy ant is considered by most research entomologists to be the most widely distributed of all ant species worldwide, with the possible exception of the Pharaoh ant. This species’ ability to rapidly spread and adapt to a variety of unnatural urban environments is one of several reasons as to why eliminating longhorn crazy ant infestations within homes is very challenging. The longhorn crazy ant is dark in color and exceedingly small at 1.5 to 3 mm in length, but their unusually erratic and fast movements make them easy to identify without the aid of a microscope. The longhorn crazy should not be confused with the Tawny or raspberry crazy ant species that has also established an invasive habitat in the southeastern US.
Have you ever found tiny ant pests that had crawled into your keyboard?