People who heard in mid-October about the spread of aliens on the Gulf Coast might have written it off as some kind of pre-Halloween spoof. Millions and millions of shaggy creatures running around at break-neck speed and with a penchant for overrunning and damaging homes and businesses sounded unbelievable.
But, when it comes to hairy crazy ants, fact is stranger – and more disturbing – than fiction.
“If you go to an area infested with these pests and take one step, in two seconds your feet will be covered in ants,” said Joe MacGown, research technician and scientific illustrator at Mississippi State University’s Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. Pointing out that the ants have no natural enemies, he added, “We’re currently working on pesticides, but right now we don’t have anything that has proven very effective.”
The ant’s scientific name is Nylanderia pubens, but they are known by various common names. Researchers here in Mississippi prefer…