From Texas to Florida, several southern states in the U.S. are abuzz with reports of hairy crazy ants.
It sounds like the premise for a Hollywood horror film: crazy ants invade the southern United States.
As their moniker implies, the flea-sized critters are called crazy because of how rapidly they scramble around. They're called hairy because of a thin layer of fuzz that sets them apart from their glossy-looking brethren.
The little biters will eat just about anything, plant or animal. Unlike many ants, they don't dig out anthills, rather preferring to nest in sheltered, moist spots.
They also pack a nasty bite. The ants are aggressive and capable of swarming en masse, according to Roger Gold, an entomology professor at Texas A&M. The second an ant is killed, its death releases a chemical clue to attack a threat to the colony, Gold told The AP.
The other ants rush in. Before long, you have a ball of ants, he added.
The ants are on the move in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. In Texas, they have invaded homes and industrial complexes and thrive in both urban and rural areas.
The critters travel in motorcycles, moving vans, potted plants, hay bales, and more. They are even known to short out industrial equipment.
So where do these ants come from and why are they attacking in the American South?
The hairy crazy ant - yes that's the actual name - is a semi-tropical ant that's expanding its territory. The insect is migrating northward and climate change appears to be the big driver.
Likely a native of South America, the ants were found in the Caribbean by the late 19th century where there are commonly known as Caribbean crazy ants,
The crazy ants aren't exactly new. There were a few isolated reports in Florida before 2000, and exterminators reported some of the first Texas specimens of the species in the Huston area back in 2002.
However, their population has grown dramatically over the past decade.
Now, 20 counties in Florida, 18 counties in Texas, two counties in Mississippi and one in Louisiana report issues with the crazy pests - and exterminating them isn't easy.
Gold told the AP that for every 100,000 killed by pesticides, millions more will follow.
What are the health risks?
It was just proven at Texas A&M University that the ants actually transfer pathogens from one room to another. This is a major problem because they've been found at medical centers in Huston.
They can also destroy up to 95% of both insect and reptile populations on properties that they infest and can even decimate beehives, a major problem for several small honey farmers.
The infestation does have a silver lining. The crazy ants are wiping out populations of the pesky stinging fire ant.
Yet, many locals would take the fire ant over the crazy ant any day as fire ants form easily avoidable colonies while crazy ants run, amok, or should I say crazy,
Watch footage of the crazy ants below: