How to Kill Raspberry Ants

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Large numbers of rasberry ants can accumulate and cause damage to electronics.
Large numbers of rasberry ants can accumulate and cause damage to electronics. (Image: UpulDayawansa/iStock/Getty Images)

Rasberry ants -- tawny crazy ants -- named for their erratic travel patterns, are an invasive ant species that can cause damage to control boxes, electronics and wildlife. Rasberry ants occur in such high numbers that standard over-the-counter ant control products do little to stop an infestation, requiring the services of a professional exterminator. In addition to professionally applied insecticides, you can take specific steps to protect your home and electronic devices from these pests.

Crazy Tawny Ants

As a relatively new invasive ant species discovered in Texas in 2002, the ant is named for its discoverer, Tom Rasberry. The ants are believed to have shown up in Texas due humans inadvertently assisting them. The reddish brown 1/8-inch long ant occurs in large numbers and forages long distances away from their nests, making infestations hard to control. The rasberry ant is not native to the United States and is thought to have originated in either Southeast Asia or from islands in the South Pacific above Australia.

Rasberry Ant Habitat

The rasberry ant is commonly found nesting outside, but also forage inside warehouses, trash cans, well houses, around irrigation equipment or near your home. Omnivorous creatures, crazy ants eat most everything including the insulation around wiring. Ant colonies can be found under rocks, piles of debris and rotten wood or in the ground. The highly adaptable ant can nest in a variety of locations and is found in both moist and dry environments with home computers, electrical switch boxes, gas meters and other electronics being favorite nesting areas.

Ants and Electronics

Though no one really knows why, the rasberry ant is one of several ants that are attracted to electronics. Large numbers of ants have been known to accumulate in electrical equipment chewing on wire insulation which exposes live wires and causes items to short circuit. When an ant is shocked by a live wire, it releases a chemical pheromone that attracts other ants. Large numbers of ants then clog switching mechanisms and form an accumulation of dead worker ants that causes even more damage to electronics. Turn off electronics when not in use so that their warmth doesn't attract ants. Seal smaller electronics in plastic bags that zip shut or other airtight plastic containers to prevent the ants from getting in. Avoid eating at your computer and make it a habit to wash your hands after eating and before using your keyboard.

Effective Control

Remove possible nesting areas around the exterior of the home, such as fallen limbs and yard debris and eliminate their food source by cleaning up spills and sealing food items to protect your home. The professional application of contact insecticides creates a temporary buffer zone. Consistently clear away dead ants without disturbing the insecticide so that the contact poison can continue to work. To remain effective, have insecticides reapplied every to to three months. In outside electrical control boxes, install proprietary nylon seals to protect delicate circuity inside. Use caulk or silicone to seal any entry holes. Set up enclosed bait stations near outdoor electronics to encourage ants to leave.

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