The Rasberry Crazy Ant (also popular as the tawny crazy ant or Nylanderia fulva) is a highly invasive and destructive species of ant native to South America. The Rasberry Crazy Ant is approximately 0.125 in (3.2 mm) in length, and is covered with small, reddish-brown hairs.
Unlike most species of ant, the Nylanderia fulva colonies have multiple queens.
The tawny crazy ant loves the sugary honeydew that aphids (plant lice or greenflies) excrete as they suck on the pap of plants and trees. They also feed on other small insects and vertebrates and would forage on plants, especially for sweet materials.
Rasberry Crazy Ant Competitiveness
The Rasberry Crazy Ant appears to displace other ant species and multiples in incredibly vast numbers. This displacement of other species even includes red imported fire ants. Most likely this is due to exploitative and interference competition.
In the United States, this particular ant is an invasive species of insect with the heaviest infestation in the state of Texas. Scientists have described the ants as having virtually overrun a portion of Texas since 2001. Since then, they appear to also have established colonies in all states of the Gulf Coast of the United States.
Rasberry Crazy Ant colonies can be up to 100 times larger than those of native ant species. That is a lot of ants.
Rasberry Crazy Ant Destructiveness
Rasberry Crazy Ant colonies, like many species of ants, love electrical equipment. It is unclear why. One suggestion is that they sense the magnetic fields that surround wires conducting electric current. Another theory is that they prefer the warmth produced by resistance to the currents in the wires.
Some argue that they simply are searching for food or an attractive place to nest. Infestations of electrical equipment cause short circuits since the ants chew through insulation. Overheating, corrosion, and mechanical failures also result from accumulations of dead ants and nest detritus in electrical devices.