Though this probably isn’t the first thing that occurs to you, next time your computer stops working unexpectedly, take a peek under the old hood to see if there’s an enormous, horrible nest of ants.
Because, according to researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, we’ve got a new type of ant on our hands, lovingly nicknamed the “Tawny Crazy Ants” and actually named Nylanderia fulva. Found in the southeastern United States, these crazy ants are displacing the horror-ridden fire ants.
For all practical purposes, this seems like a positive thing, considering the crazy ants don’t sting the way fire ants do. But it’s not a great thing for electronics.
"[The crazy ants] nest in electronics and create short circuits, as they create a contact bridge between two points when they get electrocuted they release an alarm pheromone," said UT research assistant Edward LeBrun. That pheromone attracts more ants, who begin creating a larger nest inside the electronic in question.
There’s no explanation yet as to why they love electronics, other than the confined spaces. They’ll pretty much nest in anything, and they’re not susceptible to your everyday ant killer, making these guys a grade-A pain-in-the-bum.
Luckily for everyone who doesn’t live in the southeastern United States, they’re mostly confined to the southeastern United States.
Over time, though, our electronics may have a stronger enemy than viruses: ants. Maybe we can harvest them and offer the buggers to folks with digital ant farms before that happens.