It sounds like an old black-and-white monster movie. Crazy, tech-nesting ants invade America! That would make for a great matinee, but it's oh so very real. Tawny crazy ants, known scientifically as Nylanderia fulva, are marching into territories once dominated by fire ants -- and they're not being very good neighbors.
While fire ants have made their sting notorious, tawny crazy ants have a propensity to infiltrate unwelcome places en masse. They're making fire ants look positively polite. The South American native ants are attracted to electronics in particular. Once inside, they create short circuits, says University of Texas research assistant Edward LeBrun.
"When they get electrocuted, they release an alarm pheromone," he says, adding that this attracts more ants and exacerbates the problem.