Tawny (Rasberry) Crazy Ants are a non-native ant species that were introduced into the Houston area and is spreading to surrounding counties. This ant is one type of a group of ants referred to as crazy ants because of their erratic running behavior and the last name of Tom Rasberry (pictured left) who first discovered the ants in the Houston area in 2002. These ants live in extremely large colonies, can forage for great distances and can literally sterilize a lawn by displacing other pests from existing in areas. It is unclear why this species, like many varieties of ants, are attracted to electrical equipment, including computers, air conditioners and other large electrical powered units. It may be that they sense the magnetic field that surrounds wires with electric current flowing through them. Or, they might prefer the heat byproduct of resistance in the wires. However, it could simply be that they are searching for food or a nesting location that is easy to defend. Their infestation of electrical equipment can cause short circuits when they chew through insulation. Overheating and mechanical failures can also be caused by high numbers of dead worker ants in electrical devices. Additionally, large numbers of ants can accumulate in electrical equipment also causing short circuits and clogging switching mechanisms equipment to fail.
Control of this species of ant is not recommended for the do-it-yourselfer. Effective products involved with seeking control of this particular ant species are not readily available to the consumer. The most noted products offering some relief from the invasion of this pest can only be applied by a licensed pest control operator. These products will provide only temporary a reprieve by establishing a “buffer zone” between activity and desired areas of protection. Continued inspections and retreatments are eminent.