(ORDO NEWS) — An invasive ant species is causing havoc in villages in southern India.
Swarms of yellow crazy ants have infested seven villages in Tamil Nadu, attacking people and livestock.
“As soon as we approach the forest, the ants climb on us, causing skin irritation and blisters,” one farmer told the BBC. “We can’t even take water to drink, as they swarm there too. We don’t know what to do.”
The villagers reported that their livestock died after being attacked by ants. Rabbits and snakes were also found dead.
Ant colonies are huge and can overwhelm native ant species as well as other invertebrates they may attack, experts say. They may also prey on small vertebrates such as reptiles and birds.
An animal that crosses paths with a yellow crazy ant colony is likely to die a painful death.
Ants do not sting, but spray formic acid from the abdomen, which is very harmful in high concentrations, experts said.
Their movements seem unpredictable to people, which is why they were called “crazy ants.”
Crazy ants have a symbiotic relationship with aphids or scale insects, larger insects that feed on crops. It is they who are very aggressively protected by ants.
Aphid and scaly insect populations are usually controlled by lizards, birds, or other insects. But crazy ants protect aphids and scale insects, allowing their populations to grow in exchange for the nutrients they release.
Contact us: [email protected]