They are not native to the Americas and are thought to have come from the Caribbean Islands.
The reason so many experts are afraid of this pest in because it reproduces very quickly and in huge numbers. A typical colony will have thousands of egg-laying females and will contain millions of insects.
Some experts estimate the numbers could reach upwards of one Billion per acre. If the entire colony lives on your property it may be possible to gain control but, if they live somewhere else and are only feeding or crossing your property, complete eradication is impossible at this point.
Discovered in 2002 in South Houston, today they have spread over several Texas counties. This rapid and unusually fast spread is the direct result of man.
We are moving them around in hay bales, potted plants, mulch, timber, and debris, etc. Every time we purchase and relocate an infested item we spread the problem.
The ants are reddish-brown to black and about the size of a fire ant. The name “crazy” comes from their movement which is erratic and fast.
You will never see them moving in a straight line like other ants. They prefer to live outdoors but can be found within structures looking for food and water.
They do not make mounds, like fire ants, but instead nest in and under rocks, pots, debris, mulch, and voids, etc. These ants have no stingers, but, are very much capable of biting.
Their main defense is a chemical they excrete from their acidopore at the end of their abdomen.
Because they are not native to the Americas they do not have any “natural” enemies here. They, like the imported fire ants, have spread un-checked but unlike the fire ants which can be controlled with baits and or liquid chemicals, there is no cure for the tawny crazy ants.
When an infestation invades your property they will eat or run off virtually every living thing. This includes fire ants. They will even attack and kill ground-nesting birds and newborn animals.
When treating for tawny crazy ants you must make your chemical application over the entire property. You may also need to treat in every room within your home or office and even the attic.
These ants have even been known to infest the upper reaches of multi-story buildings. Every tool in your box will be needed to combat these pest. Pest control companies will typically apply two granular products and put down ant baits over the turf and bed areas.
Special attention must be made to treat under every pot, stone, paver brick, mulch, the dog and playhouse, etc.
December to April is the best time to start your tawny crazy ants’ treatment program as many of the ants will die off during the winter. Treating before their populations have grown so large as to be unmanageable is the key to year-long control. If you live in an ant-infested area a monthly service program is probably going to be necessary.