Crazy Ant Facts
Crazy ants are found in various parts of the world, but not native to the United States. It is believed they originated in Asia or Africa. Crazy ant colonies are found most often from Florida to South Carolina, and west into Texas. However, it is not uncommon to find these ants in parts of California, Arizona, Hawaii, Missouri, Virginia, and even Buffalo, New York and Boston, Massachusetts.
Crazy Ant Bites
While they don’t sting like their cousin the fire ant, these ants can cause untold amounts of damage if they are not kept in check. In self-defense, these ants will bite and cause pain, but it will quickly fade.
Crazy Ant Infestation
We all have crazy aunts, but nothing that can compare to crazy ant damage. In rural areas that are home to livestock, it is possible for these ants to suffocate smaller animals like chickens. They can even attack the eyes of larger mammals like cattle and horses, blinding them. As far as electrical appliances go, these crazy creatures can short circuit devices like transformer boxes, circuit breakers, air conditioners, and electric pumps. Crazy ant colonies can also disturb the nesting of birds in trees and on the ground. Your dog or cat may also feel uncomfortable going outside if there is a large crazy ant infestation in your yard. One or two crazy ants won’t cause harm, but because they reproduce so quickly, it can become a serious problem faster than you can solve it.
Types of Crazy Ants
Crazy Ant Identification
There are different species of “crazy ants” found throughout the world and are called this generic term because of their strange and erratic movements. The two most significant pest species in the United States are the tawny crazy ant and the longhorned crazy ant.
Tawny crazy ants are also known as rasberry crazy ants and measure about an ⅛ of an inch long with reddish-brown bodies. They were found in Texas in the early 2000s and have become a major invasive pest in states along the Gulf of Mexico.
Longhorned crazy ants (or black crazy ants) are small, about ⅛ inch long with brown-black bodies and long legs. You know you have crazy ants when you see them moving about at a frantic, erratic pattern instead of foraging in organized trails like most ant species.
Crazy Ants In The Home & The Garden
Crazy ants will nest anywhere that is moist. Common hiding places include: in stumps, under logs, in soil, organic debris, compost, and even garbage. It’s not unusual to find these pests inside electrical equipment, either.
- You’ll see large clusters of reddish-brown ants foraging for food inside and outside around their nests
- These ants will sprint around in a disorganized fashion, crawling quickly over their foraging trails to escape
- There are no central nests or mounds to identify their presence. You’ll only find these ants nesting under organic matter like timber and rocks.
Crazy ants are omnivores and love the sweet stuff. Honey, honeydew, and ripened fruit are common in their diets. They also will feed on small insects and mammals, but only when a group of these ants attack. Crazy ants are most active in late Spring and continue to increase their activity as the temperature get warmer.
Frequently Asked Questions About Black Crazy Ants and Raspberry Crazy Ants
Do crazy ants bite?
Crazy ants can bite if they feel threatened, but their bites are harmless. They don’t have stingers, but can inject formic acid into the bite wound. This is much more dangerous for insect invaders than it is for humans. Far more troublesome than their bite is when crazy ants run rapidly and “psychotically” all over a person’s body!
How do you get rid of crazy ants?
The nature of this ant is so abrasive that trying to control their populations on your own is difficult. To prevent them from wanting to take up residence on your property in the first place, altering your yard is a good first step. Clear away any debris or material where the ants may hide. Anything that retains moisture, like old logs or mulch, should be discarded. Keeping your yard free of clutter will help, too, as this reduces the amount of potential nesting sites.
Crazy ant infestations are not phased by commercial repellents and insecticides, so applying them around your home won’t really help. You’ll most likely need to contact a pest control professional to get rid of these ants, as they will have access to a wider variety of treatments if your problem is out of hand.
Benefits of Professional Crazy Ant Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a crazy ant problem. Finding and treating the ant colony can be challenging, especially if the main colony is hidden somewhere outside in the lawn. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the crazy ant infestation.
Courtesy Photo: Antweb.org