At any one time, there are between one to 10 quadrillion ants in the world. Some of these ants are harmless. Others are downright scary. Here are five types of ants that may just give you the willies.
The Zombie Ant
Many people may think turning into a zombie is something from a sci-fi movie, but for ants in the tropical forest ecosystems, it is a real thing. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is an insect-pathogenising fungus, which is also known as the zombie fungus. This fungus infects ants and alters their behavior. The ant eventually dies but becomes a host to the fungus, where it grows and releases spores to infect other ants and also turn them into zombies.
Cow Killer Ant
The Cow Killer Ant is also known as a Velvet Ant. Even though the name suggests this is an ant, it is actually a type of wasp, and these insects are known for painful stings. The name for these ants comes from their reputation that their stings hurt so much it could kill a cow. However, only the females sting and they aren’t often found in populated areas. You will most likely find them in pastures.
Crazy Ants receive their name due to their crazy behavior. These ants are extremely invasive and feature frantic and erratic movements. The interesting thing about these ants is they are attracted to electrical equipment. They enter homes through electrical outlets and are known to cause extensive electrical damage. When one of these ants is electrocuted, the shocked ant releases a pheromone that other crazy ants are attracted to. This results in a pile up of electrocuted ants and damage to an entire electrical system.
Panda ants are actually wasps. They have a very distinct black and white color, which is how they get their name. Even though these ants may give off a more unique appearance, you want to stay far away as they have an extremely painful sting. They also have a very hard exoskeleton, making them much harder to kill.
Most species of ants are small, but the size of the Bull Ant is enough to scare you. These insects can grow up to 40 mm and are long and slender. Not only is their size enough to scare you but they have a venomous sting and some species of bull ants are known to jump at their attackers. These ants are found in Australia, and more than 90 species of Bull Ants have been discovered.
Ants are fascinating creatures but beware. They are more than just little insects that are building ant hills and stealing crumbs from your picnic.