crazy ant
Argentinian crazy ant colonies can have as many as 200 queens compared to just one in a typical British swarmsWikimedia Commons

A species of Argentine ants that gnaw through electrical wires, spread salmonella and sting have swamped areas of the UK. Pest control experts say the "crazy" ants – as dubbed according to their jerky movements – are targeting multi-occupancy buildings such as hotels as their UK base as they emigrate from the South American country.

They measure about 3mm long and have dark skin with sporadic, short hair. They are known to form large colonies which can have up 200 queens. A typical colony for British ants has just one queen.

Pest control expert David Cross of Basis Prompt told the Birmingham Mail, an area where the insects are becoming more common: "The population of tropical ants is this country is certainly growing all the time and we're now seeing many more problems with colonies of certain species than we have witnessed in the past.

"Most tropical ants can't live outside and need warmth to survive so they can thrive in places where heating is on all the time. Areas around heated water pipes, in particular, provide them with an ideal environment and they'll often be found foraging for protein or sugars around bins or behind fridges. They'll generally head to areas where food is manufactured or prepared, which is why food producers and restaurants are at risk, too."