Tawny Crazy Ant

Category:

Actual Size: ⅛”

Characteristics: Golden-brown to reddish-brown 

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Males and females have wings, but rarely fly.

Habitat: Thrive in both moist and dry environments.Will nest in electronics, underneath floorboards, trash bins, and inside car engines. 

Habits:

  • Named for their erratic, highly unpredictable movements.
  • Can destroy grass and lawns while displacing other insects. 
  • Drawn to electrical equipment, they have been found in televisions, computers, and other appliances.

 

Tawny Crazy Ants in Eastern Tennessee

Also known as rasberry crazy ants, tawny crazy ants are invasive and were first introduced to the public in Texas in 2002. Since then, they’ve spread to Eastern Tennessee, invading homes, and other buildings in large numbers. Named for their butterscotch color and erratic trailing movements, tawny crazy ants follow pheromone trails like other ants. However, the movements of tawny crazy ants appear erratic because they have very long legs and move quickly. Tawny crazy ants can kill grass, displace other insects, and frequently cause malfunctions in electrical equipment.  

Tawny Crazy Ant Habitat

Building large nests, typically near moisture, tawny crazy ants build nests in any available crack or crevice. Nests are found under leaf debris, waste material, damp soil, and other protected habitats. Although they don’t typically build colonies in homes, tawny crazy ants will venture indoors to forage for meats and sweets. Additionally, nests have been found in potted plants, stumps, and electrical equipment. Tending aphids and consuming their honeydew secretions, tawny crazy ants also prey on live animals and scavenge from dead animals.

Tawny Crazy Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Although they do not have a stinger, tawny crazy ants can bite. When bitten, pain is mild and dissipates quickly. Outdoors, infested landscapes consist of several trails of ants running up trees and shrubs in yards. As they scavenge for food, tawny crazy ants invade homes, where they are drawn to electrical equipment, destroying electronics and creating a fire hazard. When these ants invade buildings, they may be attracted to sweets and to water sources, especially during periods of dry weather. Additionally, most pest control tactics that work to control other ants do not provide adequate control of the tawny crazy ant. If a tawny crazy ant infestation is suspected, it is best to consult a professional ant exterminator.