ABC Blog

What You Need To Know About Crazy Ants

Paratrechina longicornis

A new ant species has been discovered in the southern parts of the United States: the crazy ant. What’s important to know about these ants, which are also referred to by their scientific names, Nylanderia fulva (Rasberry crazy ant) and Paratrechina longicornis (the Longhorn crazy ant)? For starters, both of these ant species are not native to the United States, and both are considered pests.

Read on to learn what crazy ants are, how they got their name, what attracts them, and what impact they are having on humans.

What Are Crazy Ants?

Crazy ants were first discovered in 2002 in an industrial park outside of Houston. Exterminator Tom Rasberry noticed ants which were moving erratically and which caused significant damage to electrical equipment. “When you see fast-moving ants that are not following a path, they are probably crazy ants,” explained Randy McCarty, ABC’s Director of Training and resident entomologist, who has … Read Full Post »

When Ants Fight, Are You the Winner?

Figuring the odds on fire vs. crazy

When you first heard about their amazing ability to kick the stuffing out of fearsome fire ants, you were probably impressed with crazy ants. Since the early 2000s, this invasive new species has established its own ferocious reputation, and homeowners from Houston to Dallas are caught in the middle. Should you take sides?

Different Nesting Tactics

Both ant species hitchhiked here from South America where they were already mortal enemies. Perhaps the rivalry began over homebuilding styles. Fire ants take a traditional approach by constructing large mounds in backyards. As their population grows, they branch out with those familiar dirt piles that mean trouble for bare human feet. Crazy ants start out in the lawn, but they aren’t satisfied with life outside. These deranged pests push their colonies into home interiors by nesting in walls and crawl spaces, and they enjoy setting up house in electrical … Read Full Post »

Are Ants Stealing Your Pet’s Dinner?

Texas is home to a variety of pesky ant species that thrive in our year-round warm climate. Ask the professionals how to protect your home from ongoing invasions and chances are they’ll tell you to watch where your crumbs fall. While a lot of other variables – moisture levels, landscaping, and location – come into play when ants look for new spots to settle, food waste is a major source of infestations. Keeping food off the ground is generally great advice, but what if you share your home with a hungry pet? When a food bowl is a permanent fixture on your kitchen floor, following the tips below can make all the difference.

Get to Know Your Enemy

They may look similar, but different ant species behave in very different ways. For example, carpenter ants are nocturnal, while look-alike acrobat ants are active during the day. The more you know about the … Read Full Post »

So Many Ants, So Little Time

If you’ve been in your home for any length of time, odds are good that you share it with at least a few uninvited guests. While they’re not individually the most dangerous pests around, ants can be a serious nuisance because when one comes, many others follow. To keep your home ant-free, you’ll need to be proactive and decisive.

The first step is to make your home less attractive to ants. An ant that enters a building is generally looking for sources of food; head them off by keeping your food items in sealed containers and cleaning up leftovers promptly after meals. Don’t let dirty dishes and standing water accumulate in the sink; to an ant, that’s dinner and a beverage all in one.

More generally, keep on top of your everyday home cleaning regimen. The dirtier you allow your house to get, the more food and hiding places ants and other … Read Full Post »

The Problem with Imported Fire Ants

Some fire ants burn hotter than others

Red imported fire ants have become a serious problem in the Dallas area. They behave more aggressively and possess stronger stingers than most other species. This fast-moving ant has few natural enemies in Texas, so it continues to infest new areas. Large groups of fire ants may attack pets, livestock and people who disturb their mounds.

Identification

When you see small, dark-red insects that measure at least one-sixteenth inch, they might be imported fire ants. The largest workers grow up to one-quarter inch long, and their antennas consist of 10 tiny segments. Don’t stand next to a mound to inspect these bugs. It’s much safer to find a dead insect before using your magnifying glass.

Harmful Effects

Although it has been known to infest buildings, this invasive pest usually stays outdoors. You may feel its fiery sting if you work or recreate in a field, park, playground or … Read Full Post »

Pests: The Real Kitchen Nightmare

Thanks to Austin’s subtropical climate, fighting household pests here can sometimes feel like a full-time job. Even if you try your hardest to fortify your home against infestations, it’s not uncommon to see ants, roaches, rodents and other tiny invaders parading across your kitchen floors and counters. Since pests typically travel in large colonies and often carry dangerous bacteria, being proactive about pest control is important. To help you get your battle plan on track this season, we’re identifying three of the most common pests in the Austin area and sharing tips on how to keep them out of your kitchen for good.

Roaches

Because they settle wherever food is easily available, roaches are the quintessential kitchen pests. If you see one occasionally, a lot more can be hiding somewhere in your kitchen and even throughout your home. To find out whether you’re dealing with a few strays or a full-blown infestation, … Read Full Post »

Common-Area Maintenance Means Common Pests

Should you be fighting on more fronts?

Are your unwelcome guests really falling prey to your limited maintenance efforts, or are they savvy enough to simply move out temporarily before returning to their normal haunts? Vermin don’t need high-level intelligence to know it’s in their best interest to move somewhere else when the commercial pest control service starts spraying. If your treatment program isn’t comprehensive, you could just be spreading the problem to the rest of your Dallas building or facility.

Survival at All Costs

Creatures such as insects and rodents may lack the size advantages that humans and other animals count on, but they’re some of the planet’s most prevalent residents.

Researchers have discovered that ant colonies, for instance, go as far as using their bodies to make living rafts to protect their queens during floods, an act of dedication that most human families would be hard-pressed to imitate. Some cold-blooded insect species … Read Full Post »

Where There’s One Ant, There’s 100 More

How communication leads to an infestation

If you see even one ant in your San Antonio area home, the reality is that there are probably hundreds more that you haven’t spotted yet. Fortunately, scouting ants are the first to enter a new dwelling, so you do have the opportunity to prevent a major infestation by contacting a professional pest control company at the first sign of an issue.

Do Ants Talk?

Research indicates that ants begin communicating with each other from the late pupae stage, and it’s an imperative aspect of community safety. As soon as each ant matures enough to develop a hardened exoskeleton, they’re able to make noises by using one of their hind legs to strike a spike located on their abdomen. The most interesting aspect of this form of communication is that entomologists believe it’s used primarily to receive assistance during an emergency. For example, if an ant encounters … Read Full Post »

Are There More Where That Came From?

How to know when one pest is actually many

Finding a single pest might be just a fluke, but it might also be a sign of a serious infestation that needs professional attention. Once settled in a new home, roaches, ants, termites and other small pests get to work on expanding their colonies. Multiplying at a fast rate in a constrained space means that a few occupants will be accidentally squeezed out and left to wander your floors and walls in plain sight. Below, we’ve put together a handy pest-by-pest guide to help you learn how to tell the difference between an evicted resident and a random passerby.

Roaches

Roaches love hiding in dark and moist crevices, so you’ll need to do a little investigating to make sure that one roach isn’t a displaced member of a larger colony. Faucets, electrical appliances, hollow wall cavities, door frames, drains and cracks in furniture are … Read Full Post »

Fire Ants and Crazy Ants Battle for the Throne in Texas

Who will win?

Residents throughout the Austin area and southeast Texas have grown accustomed to the problems that are associated with fire ants, most notably their notorious stinging bite. However, recent research indicates that a newer invasive species commonly referred to as the “crazy ant” is currently locked in a struggle for superiority with fire ants. In fact, entomologists believe that crazy ants might eventually win this territorial fight, and this isn’t as positive of a possibility as some people might believe.

What Is a Crazy Ant?

The scientific name for crazy ants is Paratrechina longicornis, and some Texas residents refer to them as Raspberry crazy ants. This invasive species originated in South America just like fire ants, and these pests have an unusual defense mechanism against their natural enemy. Fire ants typically spray venom to defend themselves against other ants and bugs, but this venom doesn’t usually kill crazy ants. Instead, a … Read Full Post »