What do humans and fire ants have in common? They both hate crazy ants. You probably thought you would never share a common goal with the aggressive, curmudgeonly fire ant. They are lousy company, after all. But if you and a fire ant were at a bar, you would absolutely connect over your mutual disdain, confusion, and annoyance with the erratic, insane phenomena that is the crazy ant. Also known as Tawny, or Raspberry (named after the specialist who discovered them) ants, these freaky insects are unpredictable, annoying, and a total disaster for both humans and fire ant colonies. Let’s dig a little deeper into the bizarre relationship between these two ant species, whose similarities end at the red color of their bodies.

Five Ants vs. Crazy Ants: What’s the Difference?

Fire ants and crazy ants may look vaguely similar, but they could not be any more different if they tried. One primarily lords over the backyard, stinging feet and terrorizing other insects, while the other takes over lawns, homes, and sanity.

Fortunately, crazy ants are still relegated to the three coastal counties of Mississippi and have not yet traveled to the Hattiesburg region. But ant colonies can be easily transported, which is why pest control professionals everywhere are holding their breaths for the day they’re told crazy ants have made it to their area. The first step towards preventing a crazy ant takeover is to make sure Mississippi residents are well informed regarding the frustrating hazards of these indominable colonies.

Fire Ants in Mississippi

Before the era of crazy ants, fire ants ruled the backyards and gleefully targeted the feet of coastal Mississippi residents. Fire ants can be identified by their dull red body coloration, which ranges from reddish-brown to reddish-black. They are approximately 1.6 to 5 mm long, and they prefer warm, sunny conditions rather than shaded areas.

Fire ants traditionally nest in the ground, and can be identified by the visible, above-ground mounds. They have a lot of energy and will repeatedly sting any animal they believe is a threat to hearth and home.

  • Fire Ant Fact!¬†Everybody knows that fire ants can be a painful nuisance, but did you know they actually sting rather than bite? They grip defenseless skin with their mandibles and inject painful, itchy venom through their stinger.

Crazy Ants on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Crazy ants traveled to Mississippi from Texas in 2009 and have since been tentatively relegated to the three coastal counties. These insects are honestly one of the most aptly named pests in the animal kingdom. They are approximately 1/8 inch long and have long antenna and legs that are a reddish-brown color. The sheer quantity of them is enough to make your skin crawl. A single colony may contain several hundred thousand inhabitants!

Why the Animosity Between Fire Ants and Tawny Crazy Ants?

Tawny crazy ants are not equipped with a defensive stinger. Instead, they possess an acid pore that emits a defensive chemical compound, protecting them from other insects. Yes, even the venomous fire ant. Crazy ants run fire ants out of house and home because of the sheer magnitude of their colonies, and their “Devil may care” attitudes towards fire ant venom.

Destructive Qualities of Tawny Crazy Ants

Crazy ants may not sting (they can inflict a mild bite, but the pain fades shortly after), but they cause pain and discomfort in other ways. Primarily in the wallet area. These pests breed incredibly rapidly and infest homes, yards, and electrical equipment. Damages ensue when large amounts of ants die inside appliances such as air conditioners, water well pumps, light switch shorts, and cars.

Argentine Ants: Have You Seen a Crazy Ant? Don’t Panic!

To date, crazy ants have not appeared in Hattiesburg. There is a similarly-sized and colored nuisance ant that also moves erratically and forms large colonies. That is the Argentine ant. If you are concerned crazy ants have finally migrated north and into your home, call Orkin! Our techs will identify the pest and develop the best pest control method.

Fire Ant Control and Prevention with Orkin

While it may be a while until you need to worry about crazy ants, fire ants are still a big issue in Hattiesburg! These painful pests build large, distinctive mounds as nests and can wreak havoc on a happy backyard. Most importantly, those who are allergic to fire ant venom can seriously suffer, and even die, when stung. If you suspect fire ants have taken over your property, call Orkin right away!

Contact Orkin for a Fire Ant Control Estimate!

Orkin pest control professionals are experienced in protecting Hattiesburg and McComb homes from fire ant invaders. If you see signs of fire ant activity, or large nests appearing in your yard, call Orkin immediately!