Crazy Ants

Crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva) are an invasive species that have wreaked havoc in the Gulf Coast States, from Florida to Texas. Crazy ants are named after their haphazard and rapid movements, and do not follow trails like most other ants. Also referred to as raspberry or tawny crazy ants, they can boast dense populations that may harbor up to 30 queens.

Besides their erratic behavior, these ants also have a high affinity for electrical equipment, and the reason why is unknown. Research indicates that crazy ants contribute to up to $146 million annually in electrical damages. When they infest electronics, they can become electrocuted, causing them to produce an alarm pheromone which signals other ants to come and rescue it. The ants that come to offer a helping hand are also electrocuted, leading to more and more dead ants piling up. Because they form massive colonies, bigger than almost any other species of ant, there can be so many ants responding to this pheromone that they short out the entire electrical system.

Identifying Crazy Ants

There are over 21 species of Crazy ants, all of which have individual features and characteristics, but the simplest way to identify Crazy Ants is to observe their movement. As mentioned earlier, these creatures move haphazardly and don’t follow trails like most other species. However, you may be able to identify them with other unique attributes such as:

Color: Crazy ants are typically reddish-brown but can also be black or gray.

Size: The Crazy ant worker is relatively tiny measuring 2.3 – 3 mm in length. Queens are larger and can measure between 6 – 16 mm.

Bodily Features: The Crazy ant is covered with long, coarse, scattered hair-like projections. Their antennae have 12 segments, and although they don’t have a stinger, they do have venom that can be injected when biting you by curving their bodies. They also have much longer legs than most other ants.

Habitat: Crazy ants are tough, and can survive in moist or dry habitats, both indoors and outdoors. They’re found in tree cavities, yard waste, plants, and under rocks and trash when outside. They move indoors in cold climates and hide inside electrical equipment, under cupboards, and inside the walls.

Diet: These ants feed on seeds, honeydew, dead insects, plants, sweet fruits, and other foodstuffs.

Season: They are usually most active between May and September.

Are Crazy Ants Dangerous?

Crazy ants do not pose any health risks to humans, but they are very destructive. They congregate in massive numbers and can even displace notoriously invasive fire ants. Although they don’t walk or fly for long distances, they win the turf war against other ants with their hardiness and dense populations.

How To Prevent and Control Crazy Ants

Preventing and controlling crazy ants is daunting since they can nest indoors and out, just about anywhere. However, you can help prevent crazy ant infestations by: sealing cracks and crevices on the foundation, doors and windows, trimming bushes, trees, and flowers, and removing piles of wood, stumps, rocks and any other debris away from the house.

Crazy ants are clever and are known for avoiding different kinds of ant baits. Therefore, controlling them requires coordinated efforts from an experienced pest control specialist. If you’re dealing with crazy ants, give Domain Pest Control a call for a free quote today!

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