If you were on the internet just a few years back, you might have seen pictures of those horrible, horrible electricity ants. Ants driven towards power boxes and cords, laptop batteries and electrical outlets. Sometimes they’d get to their goal only to die upon contact, lifeless ant corpses piling up in front of the device like some scene out of an apocalypse movie. Other times, they’d cluster together inside the box, nesting around something that could kill them at any moment.
But why were they so into electricity?
Some people say it was the warmth of the hardware, but that doesn’t fully track in summer. Some say something spilt in the box. However, most spillables also cause short-circuits, which the user would have definitely noticed before the ants got there.
Well, experts disagree on exactly why, and different species seem to have different reasons. A species of Crazy Ant that lives in Texas doesn’t like to dig its own nesting burrows. Instead, in the wild, it would use cracks and crevices in rocks. For Crazy Ants, an electrical box is a fantastic place to nest, and they’re so small that they can squeeze in with ease. Pest control experts in this region generally agree that the space is why Crazy Ants love electronics, not the warmth.
But wait, there’s more!
Fire ants, known for their aggressive behavior, may be swarming electrical boxes because they think they’re under attack. An ant gets shocked, and it releases a bunch of attack pheromones as it dies, because ants have no concept of electricity. This attracts more ants who all do the same thing. Yikes.
What Can You Do About It?
Ants may be a nearly unstoppable force of nature, but there are some limits. Pest control experts get a little better every year at effectively destroying ant colonies at the source, and electronics get a little more difficult to squeeze into as they approach full waterproofing. Not to mention, the worst ant offenders live pretty much exclusively in Texas. Other species might still approach electronics for heat and get caught in that zap-death-avenge cycle, but almost none of them are as aggressive as the species of fire ant currently cursing Texas, or as small as the species of Crazy Ant. Aside from flukes, most people have nothing to worry about.