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How To Recognize Longhorn Crazy Ant Workers That Forage Within Homes, And Why These Ants Are Common And Hard To Control

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

Paratrechina longicornis is an ant species that has become a well established household pest in the southern US states, including the entirety of Arizona. According to a 2006 study that followed pest control service calls, P. longicornis was the 12th most commonly collected ant pest species around homes in Phoenix, and it was the 7th most commonly collected ant pest species around homes in Tucson, making it more common than Pharaoh ants in residential areas of southern Arizona. P. longicornis is more commonly known as the “longhorn crazy ant,” azy ant workers can be recognized for their grey to black bodies that measure ⅛ of an inch in length. Workers also possess long legs and relatively long body hairs.

Longhorn crazy ant workers travel long distances from their nest while searching for food sources, and they move erratically along seemingly random trails, making their nests difficult to eliminate. The longhorn crazy ant may be the most widely distributed ant species in the world, as its small size allows it to crawl into commercial goods that travel overseas. Their small size and fast movements also allow them to get into every nook and cranny within a home, from the basement to the attic. It is not uncommon for longhorn crazy ant workers to establish nesting sites within electronic devices, such as television sets, appliances and computers.

Although longhorn crazy ants invade homes in massive numbers, making them one of the most difficult ant pests to control, they do not damage property or inflict harmful bites or stings. They do possess an organ known as an acedapore that sprays formic acid, but this defense capability is not harmful or that painful to humans. These ants nest within wall voids and other inaccessible areas, and multiple methods are needed to control single infestations, including a monitoring system, bait, and minimal amounts of insecticide.

Have you ever experienced a longhorn crazy ant infestation?


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