Rasberry crazy ants were first identified in Texas around 2002. A relative of our native crazy ant, this species moves much in the same way when foraging alone. But when grouped in trails, they can number in the thousands and quickly become a nuisance in any yard or home. If you know the local neighborhood has this ant active, be prepared for an ongoing “war” if you wish to keep them out of your yard and home.
Rasberry crazy ants measure about 1/8th inch long. Their antennae have 12 segments with no club. Colonies contain queens, workers and nurse ants with broods that consist of larval and pupal stages. Winged reproductives are released throughout the year and these male and female swarmers will attempt to start new colonies at new locations. Nest sizes can become huge and display a true “super colony” capacity with unicolonial behavior. This is one of the main reasons this ant is such a persistent pest. Once found in the yard, chances are high they will be tough to dispense. Their scent trails, once laid in place, will attract a seemingly never ending supply of new ants since their nests can grow so massive.
Rasberry ants don’t have stingers but they do like to bite. This bite does contain some chemicals and could produce irritation but nostly bites hurt and then fade when the ant is removed. Other insects and even wildlife, especially young defensive animals, won’t stand a chance when swarmed by rasberry crazy ants. Because they attack in such tremendous numbers, rasberry crazy ants can have a big impact on areas where they infest.
Currently they exist mostly in the southeast region of Texas but they are spreading. Rasberry crazy ants seem to like most anything people like and will readily move into gardens, grass, mulch and compost piles. Electrical equipment like transformers and other well insulated “on the ground” related housing components seem to invite invasion. It’s not known if its the heat, electrical current or something else attracting this pest but the impact of the invasions is never good. Though limited in it’s location, rasberry crazy ants are very much an invasive pest and will continue to spread in the coming years. Since they are so small and love garden type pests like aphids and whiteflies, it’s expected they will readily expand due to their ability to be easily transported.
Raspberry crazy ant control isn’t easy. When found in the yard, there will usually be countless thousands and the standard “three prong approach” which works on just about any invading native ant doesn’t seem to be enough for this species. Forget standard Ant Bait Stations for this ant. So far treating inside the home with ant bait or even spraying is pretty much a useless amount of effort. Your best bet will be to intercept them in the yard, before they get inside, and broadcast ant bait is one option that can help before they move in. CARPENTER ANT BAIT GRANULES are about the best outside bait to apply if you want to do preventive applications before they move in. They seem to readily accept this bait and though it won’t solve full blown invasions, it will keep light activity from maturing. In some cases this keep them from nesting close by. When used before you’re seeing thousands in the yard, it can help keep them from getting established. Treat throughout the spring and summer and if done on a regular basis, you should be able to create a buffer zone around your home which can remain ant free. But since Raspberry Crazy ants can move so rapidly it’s important to keep treatments fresh. Once populations get high, you’ll have to do some broadcast spraying with a good concentrate like BIFEN IT or CYONARA RTS. Apply some BIFEN GRANULES to the landscape first and then treat over the top with either concentrate and you’ll knock down the local population in hurry. Expect to retreat once a month or more to keep them under control since they reproduce so rapidly. Most nests will grow to super colony size by early summer. At this time TERMIDOR has been given some special licensing to enable it to be sprayed in ways not on it’s label which may prove helpful. It’s proven very effective on termites and because of it’s slow acting ingredient, could prove to be the one product that can have a profound impact. It’s not been in use long enough to tell for sure but early results are encouraging.
If you are looking for some kind of organic option for rasberry crazy ants, there aren’t many options strong enough to last. If you go this route, expect to treat even more frequently compared to the products listed above. ECO GRANULES spread in the yard followed by a good saturation with the BUG PATROL RTS is the best alternative options for now. Treat monthly with the granules and as often as needed with the Bug Patrol to keep local populations under control.