Crazy ants are something new on the Houston pest landscape. In just a few years, they've gone from being a curiosity to becoming a major pest problem. These little ants were introduced into Houston around 2002 from South America. The species was originally identified as the Raspberry Crazy Ant, although now their more commonly called the Tawny Crazy Ant.
While Houston is no stranger to invasive insect species, these guys are different. Crazy ants are everywhere. They're hard to get rid of, and there are millions of them and they're doing millions of dollars worth of damage.
Crazy ants are called crazy because of the way they move. We're used to ants that march in orderly straight lines, stealing sugar in an annoying but at least organized fashion. Crazy ants don't do that. These ants swarm, moving in close, writhing masses almost as if they're a single animal. What makes this particularly alarming is the size of their nests. A typical American ant colony will hold a few thousand inhabitants, but crazy ant colonies can number in the millions. When they swarm, they can take over an entire back yard or a whole room in the house. We've seen swarms of these things, and even for experienced pest control experts like ourselves it's a little unsettling. When there's a swarm of crazy ants around, it really does seem like they're everywhere.
The most unusual thing about crazy ants is that they seem to be attracted to electrical current. How or why this is remains unknown, but it still presents a problem. From an ant's point of view human houses are big, comfortable nesting spaces humming with the electricity that they love.
Crazy ants generally don't build their own nests. They look for already existing tight, enclosed spaces to settle in. That's part of why they love to settle in people's houses. Unfortunately, most human homes and business also come pre-built for them with a nesting space which is just the right shape and size, electrical junction boxes. When millions of ants set up a nest inside a junction box, the space they fill up can easily cause short circuits, damaging the wiring, damaging anything connected to it, and creating a very real fire hazard. Crazy ants building their nests in junction boxes actually shut down NASA in 2008.
Crazy ants are breeding, and we're seeing more and more of them every year. Crazy ants are actually at the point where they're starting to displace fire ants. While crazy ants can bite, their venom doesn't have nearly the bite of a fire ant's sting. Still, fire ants generally stayed outdoors. And crazy ants can do a lot more damage to property than fire ants ever could.
We've been in business in Houston a long time, and we never thought we'd hear people saying they wished they had the fire ants back. But that's what's happening.
What it all comes down to is that crazy ants can do a lot more damage than you would think. They can breed quickly and they have no natural predators in Texas, so they're spreading incredibly fast. Crazy ants can make a yard uninhabitable for pets, people, and even normal backyard birds. Their nesting habits mean that they can also quickly take over and do extensive damage to your home. The Texas Department of Agriculture already considers them to be a potentially very serious ecological threat and a real threat to property and homes. If you have crazy ants in your home or yard, you want to get rid of them as soon as possible.
Crazy ants can be difficult to treat. While many traditional ant insecticides are ineffective against crazy ants, fortunately it's been found that many traditional termite treatments can be highly effective in eliminating crazy ant colonies. Chief among these solution is Termidor, and fortunately Bulls Eye is licensed and experienced with Termidor treatments. If you're having a problem with crazy ants, give us a call at 713-222-PEST.