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Crazy Ants! Help!

 
Anthony Shank
Posts: 7
Location: Brevard Co, Palm Bay, Florida
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I own a home in Central Florida, close to the coast. We have, what I have been told are known as Caribbean Crazy ants. These ants are not your typical ants that have a hill here and there that you can pour boiling water on and the problem is solved. These things are everywhere!! Even after we think we have every hill destroyed, there are millions more. So bad that you can't really even go outside without being covered in them. Luckily, they don't bite, but they are very, very difficult to handle and live with. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle these things. We have tried all kinds of things with zero luck. Any suggestions would be very appreciated.
 
John Elliott
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Maybe you should try some Cordyceps fungi(skip to the 4minute mark):



I think you are going to have to contact fungi perfecti, Stamets' on-line store and see what he has, but if you can find a Cordyceps mycelium that the crazy ants go crazy over, your problem will be solved.
 
Anthony Shank
Posts: 7
Location: Brevard Co, Palm Bay, Florida
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Hey John! Thank you so very much for this info. It really is fascinating stuff for sure! I contacted the company Fungi Perfecti, Stamets', and found out that they are currently trying to get a EPA approval. They have patents that are published and waiting on two more. They are saying that it could take $2,000,000 or more for this approval!! Anyway, they cannot sell it until they get that approval, soooooooooooooo, I'm back to trying to figure out a solution for these darn ants. Any other suggestions?
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I'm not familiar with crazy ants, but the first thing I do in this sort of situation is to start thinking of what my questions are and then I can start observing and doing research to answer them.

Here are some questions, maybe you can think of more- what do they eat? What would eat them? What sort of place do they like best to live in? What would deter them outside? How are they getting in to the house? Do they like water?

It sounds like they are something you will have trouble eradicating completely, so finding ways to discourage them from being in your living space, indoors and out, might be the best first step
 
Anthony Shank
Posts: 7
Location: Brevard Co, Palm Bay, Florida
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Thanks for the advise. I was really hoping to find someone in the area that deals with these too. Anyone out there in the Central FL area?
 
John Elliott
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Anthony Shank wrote: they cannot sell it until they get that approval, soooooooooooooo, I'm back to trying to figure out a solution for these darn ants. Any other suggestions?


Yea, incorporate and call yourself a fracking company. Then you can do whatever the hell you want and the EPA will ignore you.

You could always try spraying areas with strong herbal solutions and see if that drives them away. I've read places where mint is supposed to deter ants, but I have ants that walk right through the mint to get to what they want. However, I have never seen them in or around the rosemary. For tree trunks and other places that would be limited alternative trails, I put a paste of neem oil and diatomaceous earth. It's kind of like a La Brea Tar Pit for ants, except it is white instead of black.
 
Anthony Shank
Posts: 7
Location: Brevard Co, Palm Bay, Florida
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I have tried some herbs with no luck, but I will try that out. The paste sounds pretty good. I am finding that most traditional things barely put a dent in these guys. They are really difficult.....
 
T Stout
Posts: 4
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I have some patents pending on various ways of using electrical/mechanical means of killing tawny crazy ants. There are unique characteristics of this particular kind of ant that I depend on. It sounds like you might have them. Check videos on YouTube and compare what you have with the videos. If you can associate them with specific ant hills, they are probably NOT tawny crazy ants.

I am looking for people with currently ACTIVE infestations to help me test some prototypes. I live near Dallas, we do not have infestations here but south of us, near Houston, is where they were first noticed. It has been so cold this winter that they are not active there currently.

The equipment is powered by electricity. In time, it should be driven by a solar collector, but currently it needs to be plugged in to an electrical outlet. You want it installed as far from your house as possible, because you want to divert ants FROM your house, not attract them to it. This means having a willingness to put up with electrical chords across your yard. This should be small price to pay for someone with a serious infestation.

I am still in an R & D stage. Preliminary testing last Fall looked very promising, but I was in the middle of a test when a cold snap hit the Houston area last December 5 and it has not been warm enough since then for them to be active.

The goal is to attract them to an extermination chamber and kill them in the chamber. The intent is to divert them from a house/yard. It is not known how effective this will be, but it should at least reduce the number at the house. Hopefully, emptying the chamber will be a lot simpler than trying to sweep up killed ants.

At this point, I can only handle a very few test sites. If you are interested in potentially working with me, I may be e-mailed at tim.stout.100@gmail.com .
 
John Elliott
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Thanks for sharing with us here at Permies, T Stout.

I hope you find the right frequency to drive them away. If not, there may be a big market soon in pet anteaters.
 
joseph wittenberg
Posts: 57
Location: aguanga, california
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Have you tried chickens? I don't know if you have them or want them but they go pretty crazy for ants. Especially if these ants don't bite or swarm, then chickens might be a good choice. I know our chickens love to eat ants and it gives the chickens a chance to be chickens. You can maybe just fence them in the area that needs control and let them at those ants, i bet your problem would be solved fairly quick.
 
T Stout
Posts: 4
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Those who have never seen an infestation of tawny/Rasberry crazy ants have no idea what one is like. They form super colonies. Instead of each nest having its own guarded territory, effectively all of the ants recognize each other as sisters and work together. They can forage up to 1/4 to 1/2 mile for food. That means that every ant within a 1/4 to 1/2 mile radius can potentially converge on a given location. They are dense, typically over 100 times the concentration of typical ant species. They are aggressive combatants. You kill one, it releases alarm pheromones and ten take its place. Kill a thousand, ten thousand take their place. Kill a million, ten million take their place. This is just like a 1950s horror movie, except it is real.

To get a picture of what they can be like, here are a couple of video links:

1. http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/infested/videos/hairy-crazy-ant.htm is a documentary on Animal Planet of an infestation so bad that people walked away from their home in Mississippi because the problems were so severe and no effective treatments were available. The ants obsession with eating electrical insulation made staying in their home unsafe because of the potential of an electrical fire. Finally, they simple walked away from their home. This was after consulting with the leading ant specialist from Mississippi State University, who made/presented the documentary.

2.
documents a site in Tampa, Florida, that had piles and piles and piles of dead crazy ants all around the perimeter of their house. The accumulation shown was less than a week old. Sweeping these things up is a daily task and a nightmare. The treatment didn't slow them down. This video needs to be seen to be believed. More YouTube files show similar situations.

3. Tom Rasberry, who discovered the ants in Texas in 2002, talks about an experimental treatment on a 1/2 acre site near Houston, Texas, where he applied a particular insecticide and came back several months later. He found entire site was covered with a 2 inch thick layer of ants, a mixture of dead ants and living ants. This is 7,000 cubic feet of ant accumulation in 3 months on 1/2 acre. There were special circumstances, and most of the ants had probably traveled a long distance to come to the site. But, a few chickens or mushrooms or anteaters will not impact this kind of infestation. Again, until a person has seen an infestation like this in full bore, he has no comprehension of the problem. Unfortunately, this is reality and not horror fiction.

4. In Austin, Texas, I dropped a hot dog on the ground in an infested area and in less than 10 minutes there were six different established ant trails coming to it from different directions. These were all from different nests surrounding the hot dog.

Needless to say, property values can drop drastically for a site with a severe infestation.

 
Bill McGee
Posts: 185
Location: Southeastern Connecticut, USA
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Talk about the problem being the solution- 7,000 cubic feet of biomass gathering on a 1/2 acre. Good luck with your product!
 
T Stout
Posts: 4
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Thanks for the good word. The sheer volume of the mass is staggering and intimidating. This was an exception, infestations are not normally this bad. However, typical quantities can still be intimidating.
 
ronald bush
Posts: 134
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i had a bad ant problem a few years back. my aunt told me to use instant grits. pour some piles around where it will stay dry. they eat it and also take it to the nest. i guess they eat it and expand to death? all i know is it worked for me.
 
T Stout
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Hi Ron,

It most likely was not the tawny crazy ant. In a natural setting, they have been documented to reach 15 to 20 billion ants per acre. This can be confirmed on the internet. They will easily forage up to 1/4 mile for food and have been known to go up to 1/2 mile under the proper conditions. They form supercolonies, with all of the ants working together and not fighting each other. Any one location can have the ants from about 100 acres converge on it under the right circumstances. That could be as many as 2 trillion ants if you are surrounded by a natural environment. It would take an awful lot of grits to kill this many ants. Those who have seen a full blown infestation first hand compare it to a 1950s horror film. It is that bad. The problem is not killing the first wave. The problem is their sheer numbers and their alarm pheromones. For every one you kill, 5 to ten come to take its place.

The tawny crazy ant goes by a completely different set of rules than any other ant. Hopefully, neither you nor your aunt live in an area where they do.
 
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