Two Invasive Ant Species In Louisiana That Nest Within Homes And Damage Electrical Devices

The southeastern Gulf Coast states see the greatest number of invasive ant species of all US states due to the region’s close geographic proximity to the Caribean Islands and South America where many invasive ant pests in the US originate. States like Florida, Texas and Louisiana are particularly rich in invasive ant species due to the many high-traffic coastal ports that often receive shipments of ant-infested goods from numerous regions around the world, including Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Europe, Greater Antilles, the Indo-Pacific region, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Southeast Asia. Experts have documented habitats belonging to 75 different invasive ant species in the Gulf Coast states alone. The most well known of these invasive ant species is the red-imported fire ant, which is notorious for its painful and medically significant sting. Red-imported fire ants are also known for having an attraction to electrical devices, but two other invasive ant species in Louisiana, dark rover ants and tawny crazy ants, are far more damaging to electrical devices and wiring than red-imported fire ants.

The dark rover ant is an invasive species that inhabited southern Louisiana during the 1970s, but today this species has become widespread throughout the entire state. These ants do not sting and they rarely bite, but they are known for establishing large nests within wall voids, particularly behind electrical outlets and near light fixtures. Dark rover ants have been cited by many pest control professionals in Louisiana as being one of the most difficult ant pest species to control within and around homes. Workers of this species can be hard to recognize due to their excessively small 2 millimeter long bodies, which allow them to access houses through extremely narrow entry points, but their dark brown to black exterior can make workers stand out within clean homes where clutter is lacking. Much like dark rover ants, tawny crazy ants are invasive ants from South America that invade wall outlets and electrical devices. Unlike dark rover ants, the nesting behavior of tawny crazy ants often causes short circuits and they may damage electrical wiring in expensive devices like video game consoles and refrigerators. These minute and reddish-brown ants have only been found in isolated pockets of Louisiana, but this species is spreading to new areas more rapidly than nearly all other invasive ant species in the southeast US.

Have you ever experienced electrical problems due to an ant infestation?



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