'Crazy' ants return, flourishing in Bexar County

Hot, damp conditions leading to increase in 'tawny crazy ant' ants

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County is one of only a few dozen counties in the country that is home to a unique species of insect called the "tawny crazy ant," formerly known as the "Raspberry crazy ant," and better known as just the "crazy" ant. 

Discovered in 2002 in Houston, the insect hails from South America and for many homeowners, can be a real troublemaker.

The ant gets its name due to its erratic movements. "They just kind of move left and right with no real direction to where they're going," said Javier Alonso, with One Way Pest Control.

The ants can build colonies in the yard, move to trees, and eventually travel into homes. 

Inside the home is where these ants are most damaging.

"They can multiply," said Alonso. "Their colonies can spread out and that is when you start having a major problem inside the house."

"Crazy" ants are drawn to electrical equipment and have been known to short-circuit electronics, as large colonies invade the area. They have even been responsible for damaging air conditioning units.

"Basically, they fry themselves in there and it burns out the contacts," said Alonso.

According to Alonso, spraying for the ant is the best course of action.

"These guys are pretty resilient to what they have over the counter," he said.

"Crazy" ants are hard to exterminate, and are currently flourishing in Bexar County, courtesy of the hot, damp conditions. 

The ants do not sting, but instead bite and are hard to identify.

"Crazy" ants are small, reddish-brown, and exhibit erratic behavior.

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About the Author:

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.