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: Flourishes 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.
  • Drawn to electrical equipment, they have been found in televisions, computers, and other appliances.
  • Both scavengers and predators, they feed on sugary substances, protein sources, and small live animals.

Tawny Crazy Ants in Knoxville TN

Tawny crazy ants were first introduced to the public in Texas in 2002, and are sometimes referred to as “rasberry ants.” They have since spread to the Knoxville area and it is believed they may be displacing fire ants. Named for their beige color and eccentric trailing movements, tawny crazy ants follow pheromone trails much like other ants. However, due to their very long legs and sporadic movements, they don’t “march” in a neat line like other ants giving an overall erratic appearance. Tawny crazy ants can kill grass, displace other insects and destroy electrical equipment, causing damage in urban and rural areas. 

Tawny Crazy Ant Habitat

Constructing large nests, typically near moisture, tawny crazy ants will nest in any available gap and crevice. Nests are located in leaf debris, waste material, damp soil, and other protected habitats. Colonies are typically outdoors, although tawny crazy ants will venture indoors to forage for meats and sweets. Nests have also 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

Tawny crazy ants can bite, but do not sting, as they do not possess a stinger. Pain experienced from the bite is mild and dissipates quickly. Their foraging behavior attracts them into homes, where they are drawn to electrical equipment, destroying electronics, and creating potential fire hazards. They are known to infest televisions, stereos, the backs of computers, and other appliances. As they chew through insulated wiring, they can cause electrical shorts creating dangerous fire hazards. If a tawny crazy ant infestation is suspected, it is best to consult a professional ant exterminator.