The past two decades have seen several invasive ant species make their way into Texas where they have caused extreme pest problems for homeowners as well as ecosystem upset by displacing native ant species. Argentine ants and Tawny crazy ants are the two most recent and notable of Texas’ invasive ant species, and both of these species are known for congregating in unusually large numbers within hard-to-access locations within homes, such as within wall voids, beneath baseboards, attic spaces, and in the case of Tawny crazy ants, both heavy and light electronic devices.
Many ant species, like the red-imported fire ant, have been described as being attracted to electronic machinery, and sometimes, ants pests damage wiring, but only Tawny crazy ants invade electronic devices in massive numbers where they cause internal damage in nearly every infestation case. These ants have caused refrigerators, Charlottesville air conditioning units, video game consoles, and even smartphones to stop working due to their habit of nesting within such electronic appliances and devices. In fact, an infestation of Tawny crazy ants in Waco saw more than half of all window-placed air conditioning units in an apartment building become infested with these ants in a matter of hours.
Tawny crazy ants were first discovered in the US back in 2002 when an exterminator gathered specimens that he had encountered in a Houston Neighborhood. Since then, these highly destructive ants have colonized much of eastern and Central Texas, and they have been a problem for homeowners in Waco for a decade. Tawny crazy ants have the peculiar habit of nesting within electronic devices because, unlike most ant species, they do not build their own nesting burrows. This is because the ant pests constantly roam in large masses where they seek out natural or manmade nesting cavities that are warm and dark, like inside of electronics. This species’ constant roaming is also why they are common home invaders and prefer to settle in dark wall voids. The massive size of these roaming colonies is the worst aspect of treating structures infested with Tawny crazy ants. For example, massive colonies in Waco saw millions of the ants invade an apartment building where thousands were found in 90 out of 150 air condition units. This infestation spread out of control quickly and took two months to control.
Have you ever found a roaming mass of Tawny crazy ants?