If you live in Louisiana, then this may not be news to you. There is a formidable pest that lives in the south called the Rasberry crazy ant. These small creatures are a big problem and are keeping Baton Rouge pest control companies on their toes. Their erratic and unpredictable movements were the primary inspiration for the name, but there are many other disturbing yet fascinating facts about them that are just plain crazy.
What Are Rasberry Crazy Ants?
These tiny but mighty ants are growing in number to the point where they are overtaking the fire ant as the reigning king of pests. Their primary weapon to overthrow the kingdom is a protective acid sheath, which protects them from the venomous sting of the fire ants. In fact, the crazy ant is able to spray a formic acid compound on its enemies, allowing the crazy ants to dominate the battle. They rub this same chemical over their own bodies to shield themselves from attackers.
Where Do Crazy Ants Live?
As far as a geographical location, Rasberry crazy ants are native to Argentina and the southern areas of Brazil. But since 2002, they have invaded much of Texas and are continuing to spread throughout much of the Gulf state region. The heat and humidity seem to be prime breeding ground for these prolific pests, often leading to the need for intervention by a pest control company.
Former fire ant mounds are more and more frequently being taken over by their formidable opponents, not a small feat in the world of insects. In the wake of tropical storms and hurricanes, crazy ants have been seen floating en mass on the surface of floodwaters in search of a new home — alarming to Baton Rouge pest control services and fearful residents alike.
It has been observed that Rasberry crazy ants take up residence in electrical fuse boxes, old abandoned automobiles, open pipes and conduits, or any other likely opening they come across. This may sound scary and a little too close to home, and it is. In fact, they are thought by pest control authorities to be attracted to many different forms of electronics and electrical systems.
Moreover, it seems that when electrically shocked, the ants can come pouring out of electrical outlets and into the interiors of the buildings they inhabit — disturbing, to say the least. Not only do the insects in residence come running, but it seems that the alarm pheromones that are produced by a shock also attract other colonies and the assault can seem endless. Often when a home or business has received a crazy ant treatment from a pest control company, indescribable amounts of the tiny pest can be found in mounds around the perimeter of the structure.
What Do Crazy Ants Feed On?
Nothing satisfies like a good cricket dinner, but crazy ants also feed on a variety of centipedes and spiders, as well as butterflies, mites, and other arthropods at the lower end of the food chain. They eat so much that other creatures such as birds that would normally feed on the same food source are finding there is stiff competition for a good meal, while tending not to eat crazy ants themselves, preferring their more appetizing fire-ant cousins. This has the potential to wreak havoc up the food chain and is causing environmental concerns.
Pest control authorities have also observed that crazy ants prefer a carbohydrate-based diet, although they are considered omnivorous. The food of choice for crazy ants is the honeydew produced by any of twenty-two different species of insects, including certain aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, and beetles. The ants can’t resist the honeydew, the sweet, sticky waste product left behind on stems and leaves of certain plants by these insects; in fact, the crazy ants defend the hemipterans in many cases, in return for the regular production of the sweet treat.
What Damage Can Crazy Ants Cause?
Aside from the damage to the environment and even the food chain, Baton Rouge pest control professionals consider these highly destructive insects. As discussed earlier, Rasberry crazy ants are attracted to electrical and electronic components. Even NASA has experienced damaging invasions in their electrical wiring systems and has called upon Tom Rasberry, the discoverer of this nasty little ant, for help in eradicating them. Inside the walls of residential and commercial buildings alike, they can build up, causing short circuits, clogged switches and other problems, just from the sheer number of them.
Crazy ants but have also been known to attack cattle and sting cows around their eye sockets, nostrils and even the hoof area. This has caused great distress among cattle producers, as many of these animals are damaged or killed and cannot be marketed.
These tiny creatures deliver a large dose of pain to humans as well. As with fellow insects, such as mosquitos, pathogenic organisms have been known to be transferred to humans by their sharp and painful bites. Scheduling ant treatments by professional pest control specialists can reduce these incidents.
How Do You Prevent a Crazy Ant Invasion?
Creating unfavorable living conditions is key to keeping crazy ants away in the first place. They favor humid, wet conditions and will take shelter under any bit of loose debris. Keep garbage cans away from the building and tie bags to help keep them from food sources. Treating your outdoor surfaces will help with this as well. Keep an eye on planters and do not overwater them.
Regularly remove fallen leaves, bits of bark or other yard debris. Repair leaks around faucets. Irrigate only as necessary to prevent soil from becoming a saturated haven. Crazy ants are drawn to compost pits and hay bales, as well as the engines of junked tractors and farm equipment. Report possible sightings to Baton Rouge pest control services.
Knowledge is power, as they say. Taking the steps outlined above may help prevent problems on your property. Rasberry crazy ants are resilient and often recolonize where they have found favorable living conditions. This almost always requires that a crazy ant treatment is done on a regular basis to keep these invaders at bay. Bug Ninja pest control professionals are the safest bet to keep you and not these insects the king of your castle.
I really enjoy researching and writing about pests. The more we know about bugs, the easier it becomes to control them.