Opinion Brief

The 'crazy hairy ants' invading America

These tiny biting insects are pretty much exactly what they sound like — and the U.S. South is their newest playground

The video: "It sounds like a horror movie," says Janet McConnaughy at the Associated Press.   Hordes of super-fast, flea-sized ants with a nasty bite are swarming the U.S. South, from Texas to Florida. (Watch a news report below.) These so-called "crazy hairy ants" are probably native to South America, and their victims in the U.S. so far include everything from industrial plants — the ants can short out heavy equipment — to beehives. They travel in "cargo containers, hay bales, potted plants, motorcycles, and moving vans" — and there are now millions in the U.S. These ants are also quite hard to kill, and even if one dies, it often releases a chemical that calls in an attack from the whole colony.

The reaction: These terrifying little critters are a "billion times worse" than those house ants you find so annoying, says Lindsay Mannering at The Stir. In fact, with Halloween coming up, this almost sounds like a giant put-on: "What could be scarier than an ever-expanding army of ants that move at incredible speeds and that multiply if you try to kill them?" The "million-dollar question" is why they're marching north to the U.S., says Brian Merchant at TreeHugger. The answer is almost surely climate change. And as tropical weather creeps northward, "it shouldn't be much of a surprise if more and more northern states start seeing visits from the frantic little buggers." Here's what we're in for:

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