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The Invasive Robust Crazy Ant Is Expanding Its Habitat Range In Urban Areas Of Arizona

A Giant Hairy Scorpion native to Arizona climbing on a cactus.

The Invasive Robust Crazy Ant Is Expanding Its Habitat Range In Urban Areas Of Arizona

While only a very small minority of all documented ant species are considered indoor pests, ants are the most commonly encountered, and the most commonly managed insect pests within homes and buildings throughout the US. A significant proportion of ant pests in the US are non-native species that have established invasive populations throughout the world. Ants that are capable of surviving all types of international travel, and can readily establish invasive populations in numerous urban environments outside of their native range are aptly referred to as “tramp ants.”

Tramp ants generally inhabit large colonies that contain multiple queens that can leave at any time to establish new colonies of their own. This makes tramp ants exceptionally difficult to eliminate from structures, as infestations require pest control professionals to locate and destroy all colony nesting sites. Tramp ant pest species found in the US include Pharaoh ants, Argentine ants, Tawny crazy ants, odorous house ants, ghost ants, and more. Nylanderia bourbonica, or the “robust crazy ant,” is a little-known tramp ant species of increasing importance in Arizona.

The robust crazy ant has long been known as a tramp ant, but they are not well documented in the US because specimens are hard to distinguish from other closely related species in the country. Also, most descriptions of robust crazy ants in the US were documented only recently, and most sources state that this species is becoming more common in the southeastern states. However, these ants are now more prevalent in Arizona than they are in Louisiana and Mississippi, and their habitat range is currently expanding throughout the southern states. Robust crazy ants are heavily dependent on moist conditions in order to thrive, and despite the arid climate in southern Arizona, these ants are expected to become more prevalent in the Sonoran Desert region in the coming years.

Have you ever struggled to control an infestation of raspberry crazy ants?





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