ants insects

What is an effective way to manage the Tawny Crazy Ant, Nylanderia fulva (Mayr)?

The Tawny crazy ant or Rasberry crazy ant is originally from South America.  The name comes from the erratic movement patterns of the ants. They get their Rasberry name from an exterminator, Tom Rasberry, who first discovered them in Florida.While they are mostly located throughout South America, they can be found in 27 gulf states in the USA.

The crazy ant is much smaller than the red fire ant, though they appear fairly physically similar. These ants cover their bodies in formic acid. This acid is used for two specific reasons: the acid protects them from the venom of fire ants and as weapon to use against attackers. While it is common for ants to use this acid when biting aggressors, using the acid as an antidote is unique to this species.

This is the first discovery of the technique of an insect using acid as an antidote. It was also the first discovery of the use of ionic liquids in nature.  While there are a few theories as to how this works, the truth is currently unknown.  

They are a tremendous pest in some South American countries.  Several cattle herds and chicken flocks in Colombia have been severally damaged because of ant attacks.  These ants also cultivate the growth of insects, so that they can feed.  Unfortunately, the insects that they cultivate dry out grasslands and kill plants.

They are often found destroying or living near electrical equipment  While scientists are not certain why these ants do this, it makes them an extremely annoying and destructive pest.

There are a number of ways to get rid of theses pests. The first step is to detect the nest. Because of the movement patterns of these ants, it helps to set out some honey or peanut butter based bait for the ants. Be sure to check under rocks or rotting vegetation, as these ants do not create their own mounds or hills.

The second step normally involves some kind of insecticide. It is important that you use a non-repellent insecticide. Non-repellent poisons are not detectable by the ants and they will spread when an ant walks over, and onto any of the other ants once they interact. While there are number of different brands of insecticide, it is recommend that you use, Taurus SC, FUSE, or Dominion 2L. Each brand has different instructions as to how you should go about spraying the insecticide.  

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