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The 'crazy ant' has been spotted in other parts of Spain. GENCAT
Experts urge immediate action to prevent further spread of 'crazy ants' in Spain
Nature

Experts urge immediate action to prevent further spread of 'crazy ants' in Spain

The exotic insects were first spotted in the country in Barcelona five years ago, where they most likely arrived via shipping containers

Esther Armora

Barcelona

Friday, 22 March 2024, 17:41

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Exotic and invasive "crazy ants" which arrived in Barcelona five years ago are here to stay unless action is taken immediately, experts have warned.

The crazy ant (Paratrechina longicornis) is native to subtropical Africa, but is threatening to populate in Barcelona after it arrived in the Catalonian capital in 2019. Experts have urged action "as soon as possible" to prevent colonies of the invasive insects growing and threatening other species.

"It is still being studied but it seems likely that this ant, due to its devouring capacity, could impact ladybugs or small lizards," Joan Pino, expert in exotic species at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), said.

The expert said that only immediate and forceful action to eradicate the ants during the first stage of their expansion can prevent them from becoming a problem for the country's ecosystem, as has already happened with other species in Spain such as the American mink (Neovison vison), a small mustelid native to North America that, since the last century, has spread throughout Europe and Spain.

The American crab (Procambarus clarkii), originally from the southeastern US is another pest wreaking havoc on crops in the rice fields of the Ebro Delta in Tarragona. Pampas grass (Cortaderiaelloana), a herbaceous plant native to South America, which grows quickly has also been included in the list of the 100 most harmful species in Europe.

Pino said crazy ant colonies grow rapidly due to "macro colonies" at the hands of the queens. "They help it to conquer and it is difficult to stop them if we do not act quickly and forcefully," Pino said, who also pointed out the ants have been spotted in other parts of the country after arriving in Spain via shipping containers. He said the insects bite, but just like any other specie of ant, and are not a threat to humans.

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