Tawny (Rasberry) Crazy Ants

The Tawny Crazy Ant was originally named “Rasberry Crazy Ant” after Certified Entomologist, Tom Rasberry, first identified crazy ants in the state of Texas. However, recent studies by the U.S. Department of Agriculture have determined that the Tawny crazy ant of Texas is the same species as the Caribbean crazy ant of Florida.

Tawny Crazy Ant (Nylanderia fulva) note the long, skinny legs and light, “tawny” color.

Tawny crazy ants are also about an 1/8 inch long, reddish-brown in color, and their colonies can be found in stumps, broken concrete, rocks and soil, even potted plants….especially where there is moisture. These ants have caused major damage to electrical units and are continuing to spread throughout the state.

Tawny Crazy Ant Invasion

Tawny crazy ants, native to Argentina and Brazil, have made their way into the states via commerce and unsuspecting travelers. Like the Longhorn crazy ant, Tawny ants have multiple queens and are spreading at an alarming rate. These ants are wreaking havoc in landscape, electrical systems, and displacing wildlife. On the gulf of Texas where the Tawny ant population is densest, fire ants have been completely eliminated, leaving Texans wishing fire ants would return and Tawny ants would go away. An infestation of Tawny crazy ants can cover large areas, irritating domestic and wildlife, and cause major damage to electrical systems, including utilities.

Controlling Tawny Ants

Unlike Argentina and Brazil, the U.S. lacks natural enemies that these countries appear to have which keep the Tawny crazy ant population under control. Areas infested with these ants in the U.S. require professional pest control assistance, sometimes several times of year. As with Longhorn crazy ants, homeowners can make improvements to keep the ants from nesting on their property. Repairing irrigation leaks, removing unnecessary piles of debris, including lumber, fallen tree limbs, leaves, etc. will help keep Tawny ants at bay.

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