What Are Tawny Crazy Ants and How Do You Get Rid of Them?

July 30, 2014By

Texas, Louisiana, and, increasingly, the rest of the southeastern states around the Gulf Coast are falling prey to a new invasive pest: the tawny crazy ant. Otherwise simply called tawny ants, crazy ants, or Rasberry ants (named after the exterminator who discovered them, not the similarly spelled berry), these ants are proving to be a really big problem for a lot of homeowners.

First discovered in the United States in Texas back in 2002, tawny ants are originally indigenous to southern Brazil and Argentina. Since their arrival in the US, they’ve been giving fire ants a run for their money and doing serious damage to the electrical systems in people’s homes.

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Tawny Ants vs. Fire Ants

Before tawny ants showed up a little bit over a decade ago, fire ants were king of the backyard pests. With their venom, fire ants could easily swarm and kill other insects for food and territory. In fact, their only real predators were the humans displacing and destroying their nests with ant-repellants.

Then along came the tawny crazy ants. Named for their amber coloring and “crazy”, erratic movements, these little guys are actually immune to fire ant venom. They secrete a chemical that they rub over their bodies, which renders the fire ant venom useless against them, and that’s not their only weapon, either.

Tawny ants can actually spray their own venom at ants and other rivals or prey, rather than just relying on their stingers. That means tawny ants can often win battles or kill prey without even touching their targets. They’ve not only been observed fighting off and killing fire ants, but they also have actually invaded and begun living in currently active fire ant nests.

What Do the Ant Wars Have to Do With You?

This is all fascinating, but why should you care that tawny ants can kick fire ants out of their homes? Well, while you don’t like fire anthills in your yard, at least they tend to stay outside. If they could fight off tawny ants, there would be less likelihood that your house might be overrun by these new invaders.

The biggest problem for homeowners with the tawny ant invasion is an electrical and structural one. Tawny ants prefer not to build their own homes and mounds. Rather, they invade any potential shelter. That goes beyond displacing fire ants. Tawny ants swarm into pipes, fuse boxes, cars, and anywhere else they can get to. The incidence of electrical, plumbing, and structural failures due to tawny ants in the southeastern United States is on the rise.

Furthermore, they seem immune to a lot of the traditional ant repellant insecticides on the market. To get rid of tawny ants, experts recommend ridding your yard of any potential shelter, including large rocks and leaf piles. You should also make sure that they do not have a source of standing water to thrive on.

Bigger Environmental Problems with Tawny Ants

Other than electrical and plumbing annoyances, tawny ants are creating a growing ecological problem. They’re killing off a lot of the populations of spiders and other arthropods that local birds feed on. This could cause a major ripple effect in your local ecosystem.

So, if you care about your home and your environment, addressing the growing tawny ants problem should be very important to you. As with other pests, you can keep them from invading your yard by getting rid of standing water and any potential shelters that they might find attractive.

Contact Fischer Environmental Services, (800) 391-2565, about our ant treatments that are not dangerous to humans and other animals but will actually get rid of tawny ants. Getting rid of these invasive pests could make a huge difference, not only to your home, but to your local environment.

 

Sources:

http://urbanentomology.tamu.edu/ants/rasberry.html

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-rise-of-the-crazy-ants/

http://www.cleanairgardening.com/guide-to-crazy-ants.html

 

Filed in: Ant Control