The Tawny Crazy Ants Invasion

The crazy ant got its name because of the erratic way that it moves around. Most ants move in fairly organized patterns and lines, whereas the crazy ant randomly moves left to right and back and forth.

Are Crazy Ants a Problem in Texas?

Pest control Crazy Ants - Austin TX - YardDoc 600x400

The crazy ant is an invasive species, originating from South America, and first spotted in Houston, Texas in 2002.

The crazy ant has displaced other ant species in its path, including the also invasive fire ant. While this initially may sound like a good thing, crazy ants reproduce quickly.

Unlike other species of ants, crazy ants typically host numerous queens in one colony. The result is that you end up having a lot of ants!

Individual infestations can be enormous, even by ant standards, with colonies covering areas miles across. There is some discussion about the potential that the entire population in Texas may be one single super colony!

How to Identify Crazy Ants

Crazy ants are small ants, around 3 mm long (smaller than fire ants) and they are typically tawny brown to dark honey in color. They are marked with distinctive lighter stripes across their abdomens.

What Do They Eat?

Like most ants, crazy ants tend aphids who provide them with honeydew. They also eat small insects, seeds, plants, fruit and kitchen scraps.

Where Do They Nest?

Crazy ants can nest in dry or moist areas; the most important criteria being a warm place. They typically nest under a pile of rocks, logs, and under paving or concrete structures. They're attracted to electricity, and are often found in a control panel, breaker box, electrical outlet, A / C unit, water softener, sewage pump, etc., causing shorts and other damage.

Do Crazy Ants Bite?

Crazy ants bite, but they don’t sting. The effects of the bite are minimal to humans.

However, the crazy ant produces formic acid which it uses as a venom in battles with other ants. This formic acid is also an antidote that detoxifies fire ant venom, enabling crazy ants to take over territory from fire ants.

They even chase fire ants out of their own nest and take it over for themselves!

Tawny Crazy Ant-Identify by color and stripes-Austin Texas-YardDoc-600x400

What Are the Challenges of Controlling Crazy Ants?

Treating crazy ants is more complicated than most other ant species due to a number of reasons:

  1. It is difficult to find a nest as they walk in crazy patterns. Other ant species easily can be followed back to a nest.
  2. Having multiple queens means that reproduction is taking place in many areas. Bait taken back to a single queen will not necessarily eliminate other sub-colonies.
  3. Crazy ants colonize a large territory that may cover many individually-owned properties. There needs to be a coordinated neighborhood effort to effectively eradicate tawny crazy ants.

Crazy ants can be managed, even if your home is a part of a super colony. Without a coordinated effort, crazy ant management is more about creating a buffer zone, and being vigilant at keeping the ants away, as opposed to eradicating them completely.

How Does YardDoc Manage Crazy Ants?

The best way to manage ants is a combination of making your spaces less attractive and less accessible to ants.

Ways to make your property less attractive:

  • Storing food in the refrigerator or containers with air tight lids
  • Keeping vegetation from growing on the perimeter of the building
  • Reducing water availability to ants by unclogging gutters and fixing dripping taps
  • Not overwatering your landscape
  • Keeping mulch away from the structure

Ways to make the location less accessible to ants:

  • Sealing cracks and weep holes
  • Installing and maintaining weather strips
  • Installing window and door screens

How Does YardDoc Treat a Crazy Ant Infestation?

Treatment for ants consists of placing baits that are attractive to that particular species. Depending on the type of ants, it may be sweet baits, starchy baits or protein-rich baits. The baits are carriers for the pesticide that the individual ants will carry into their nests which ultimately exterminates the colony. At YardDoc we typically combine exclusion, baiting and targeted spraying to manage crazy ant populations.

Holistic Crazy Ant Control and Removal

If you are having a problem with ants, let a YardDoc pest technician help you identify the ant species and implement an effective solution.

Get a Free Quote