Considered one of the most difficult ant species to control in North America, the invasive crazy ant is nothing to ignore. These pests reproduce rapidly and travel far from their nests in search of food. Their adaptability both in diet and in habitat make them extremely tough pests to conquer, which is why it’s important to get on top of a crazy ant infestation as soon as you notice one.
Are you dealing with these appropriately named pests in or around your home? Then keep reading because we are here to help you get rid of them.
What Are Crazy Ants?
There are three species of crazy ants in the United States, but all are just as concerning.
Named for their sporadic movements and what appears to be “aimless wandering” when in search for food, crazy ants are an invasive species of ant that has spread into the United States in massive numbers.
There are three types of crazy ants home owners should be aware of. They include the Rasberry Crazy Ant, the Caribbean Crazy Ant and the Black Crazy Ant.
Raspberry/Tawny Crazy Ant
This ant is a light tan, red, or tawny color and is identifiable by its long legs and antennae. These legs and antennae are longer than the ant’s body, which is around 1/8th of an inch. This ant is found in the Gulf United States and Texas. These are the most common ants responsible for electrical damage.
Caribbean Crazy Ant
The Caribbean crazy ant is a light brown ant that is also 1/8th of an inch long. It is most commonly found in the Gulf States, Texas and Florida, and has the ability to reproduce rapidly.
Black Crazy Ant
As its name suggests, the black crazy ant is all black. Also known as the longhorned crazy ant, the black crazy ant is distinguishable by its “longhorn” shaped antenna. This crazy ant species is most commonly found in the Gulf Coast, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.
Unfortunately, all three types of crazy ant species above have become a major problem in the United States, reproducing in the billions and causing problems both environmentally and to businesses and homes.
They make nests in cracks and crevices both inside and out, and each colony has multiple queens. These ants have been known to invade electrical wiring and other appliances, causing severe and extensive damage to computers and other electronics.
Furthermore, because of their diverse diet, which includes insects, they have been responsible for wiping out entire insect populations in certain regions. Crazy ants also have the ability to clone themselves, which further increases their rate of reproduction.
The below video goes into more detail about crazy ants and the destruction they can cause.
Crazy ants are incredibly small, but what they lack in size they make up for in numbers. Along with causing serious damage to homes, businesses, properties and the ecosystem, crazy ants can also bite. Their bites are not dangerous, but they do hurt and can leave behind small, red marks where their mandibles pinched the skin.
How To Identify Crazy Ants
Crazy ants can be identified by their longer antennae and legs, and erratic movements that make it look like they are bumping into each other.
As we mentioned above, there are three types of crazy ant species in the United States, though they all can cause the same amount of destruction and are equally concerning.
The crazy ants are all around 1/8th of an inch long and range in color from red to brown to black. They are most distinguished by their erratic movements.
Most ant species move in an orderly line, but crazy ants run about, bumping into each other and moving here and there as if they have no idea where they are going. Unlike many other ant species, crazy ants also do not build colonies below ground or in mounds or ant hills.
Instead, they prefer building nests in cracks and crevices, in trees, inside walls, and in the surface soil below potted plants, bricks, and debris.
What Attracted Crazy Ants To Your Home?
Like most species, crazy ants are after a good source of food and shelter.
These pests prefer hot, humid environments but can easily be transferred to other regions through human travel. They build their nests above ground and are commonly found in soil, beneath potted plants, in leaf litter, wood piles, cracks in pavement, and more.
Other attractants to crazy ants are resources including food and shelter. The crazy ant diet is very diverse and includes sweets, organic decaying material, insects, honeydew from insects like aphids, honey from bees, and plant material.
Due to their diet, many crazy ant infestations begin outdoors. However, because they reproduce so rapidly and quickly outgrow their colonies, it is quite common for a crazy ant infestation to make its way into your home.
With that noted, let’ go over which methods are available for how to get rid of crazy ants below.
How To Get Rid Of Crazy Ants – Most Popular Methods
There are different methods you can use to get rid of crazy ants depending on your needs and preferences.
Unfortunately, the reality is that crazy ants are especially tough to get rid of. This invasive species is highly adaptable and their behavior is unique to that of many other ant species. For this reason, many people find that they need to use a combination of methods to get rid of them effectively.
The most popular methods for how to get rid of crazy ants include:
- Natural Products
- Home Remedies
Not every method is right for every person, so if you’re not sure which method for how to get rid of crazy ants is right for you, you’re in luck. We have gone over each method that works best in detail below and even listed some of our favorite products and home remedies.
Take a look!
How To Get Rid Of Crazy Ants Using Natural Repellents
Natural repellents are generally safer for people, pets and the environment.
Natural repellents are ideal for those who are passionate about organic pest control, or for those with children and pets in the home. Many experts have found that quality natural products and organic insecticides work effectively against crazy ants when used correctly.
Best of all, natural repellents are safe for people, pets and the environment and can often be used directly on vegetation and even in kitchens where food is stored and prepared. For your convenience, we have listed some of the top natural products you can use for how to get rid of crazy ants here.
Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer
Also known as DE, Diatomaceous Earth is an organic dust derived from fossilized algae. It has many household uses, but in this particular case it makes for an excellent organic insecticide against crazy ants.
The product works by penetrating the ant’s exoskeleton, which makes it impossible to hold in water and thus dehydrates the pest. However, in order to work the ants must crawl through DE and get it on their bodies.
Diatomaceous Earth works best when dry and, when it comes to crazy ants, may work best in conjunction with other pest control products on this list.
Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
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Like Diatomaceous Earth, an ultrasonic insect repeller plug in will work best when used in conjunction with other products or methods in this article. These plug-ins work by emitting ultrasonic sound waves and vibrations that penetrate walls and flooring.
These sound frequencies are extremely irritating to pests like crazy ants but harmless to people and pets. The above order includes multiple devices so you can use them in different rooms, and they even offer the option of different frequencies.
Ultrasonic pest repellers not only work for crazy ants, but can also be helpful in repelling pests like roaches, spiders and rodents.
Harris Indoor Ant Killer Spray
The above ant killer spray is an eco-friendly spray that uses botanical ingredients and essential oils to repel and kill ants on contact. This spray can be used both inside and outside and kills ants on contact within 30 minutes or less.
This is a safe spray to use around children and pets and is safe for the environment as well. However, while it does use clove oil and cotton oil as their active ingredients, it is still a natural insecticide and should be used only as directed.
EcoRaider Ant & Crawling Insect Killer
Crazy ant infestations can happen both inside and outside of your home, which is why it’s a good idea to use a perimeter repellent that covers a good amount of surface area. The above spray by EcoRaider is a natural and eco-friendly spray that is safe for people and pets.
It uses botanical ingredients and can be used inside and outside of your home to kill and prevent future crazy ant infestations for up to 4 months. It also works on other insects like bed bugs and small spiders.
MDXConcepts Organic Home Pest Spray
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As we will discuss below, peppermint oil is a natural repellent for many pests, including crazy ants. The above spray by MDXConcepts uses peppermint oil to kill ants on contact and repel any new ones. The spray is all natural and safe for people, pets and the environment. It can also be used as a target treatment to kill and control crazy ants on contact or as a preventative.
It works indoors and out and not only prevents crazy ants but also many other ant species and pests including roaches, spiders, beetles, and more.
EcoSmart Organic Pest Control
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Last is another organic product that works as an all around preventative and is appropriate for year-round use when it comes to preventing and controlling crazy ants. This product is an organic insecticide spray that includes an attached spray nozzle for easier application.
It is safe for people, pets and the environment and can be used both inside and out. It is even safe to use in kitchens and in areas where food is stored and prepared. It uses natural ingredients like essential oils and botanicals to repel and kill pests on contact.
Best Home Remedies For How To Get Rid Of Crazy Ants
Crazy ants do not like walking through chalky substances like chalk or cinnamon.
While crazy ants are a unique species of ant, they are still ants and are sensitive to many of the same products and substances as other ant species. For this reason, many household ingredients can work well to repel crazy ants and help control or at least minimize an infestation while you work on other methods of removal.
Some of the best household products you can use against a crazy ant infestation include:
- Castile Soap
- Chalk, Cinnamon or Cornmeal
- Essential Oils
- Citrus Fruits
- Salt and Pepper
- And White Vinegar
How To Get Rid Of Crazy Ants With Essential Oils
Some of the best essential oils to repel ants and other pests include:
- Citrus Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Cedarwood oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Cinnamon Oil
- And Cinnamon Oil
DIY Essential Oil Ant Repellent Spray Or Cotton Balls Recipe
Essential oils have proven very effective when it comes to pest control, and it’s super simple to make your own crazy ant repellent spray using the above essential oils and a few other household products.
However, if you don’t have the products listed below, you can always just saturate a few cotton balls in essential oil and leave them around entry and exit points of your home to deter pests like crazy ants.
DIY Spray Ingredients:
- 15 – 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice
- 2 cups of water
- 1 spray bottle
DIY Spray Directions:
Combine the above ingredients into a spray bottle and shake the bottle to mix it. Then spray this solution around your home and along your home’s perimeter. You can spray this both indoors and out, but be careful not to spray certain essential oils directly on plants without doing research first.
DIY White Vinegar Spray (For Cleaning and Repelling)
White vinegar will not necessarily kill crazy ants, but the smell can help mask certain scents that might attract them to your home. White vinegar also makes a wonderful and natural cleaning agent to help you sweep up excess crumbs.
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 1 spray bottle
- 1 cup of water
- 10 drops of the essential oil of your choice (optional)
- 2 tbsp of Borax (optional)
Mix the above ingredients in the spray bottle and shake it to mix. Spray the solution on countertops, tables, and other surfaces and allow it to sit a few moments before wiping it down. You can also use this spray in kitchen cabinets and cupboards, and in other areas where food is stored.
How To Use Chalk, Cornmeal or Cinnamon to Protect Your Home From Crazy Ants
Another great way to protect your home from a crazy ant infestation is to create a barrier around the perimeter using a chalky substance. While there are some products you can buy over the counter, (which we’ve listed above), you can also use household ingredients like cornmeal, chalk and cinnamon.
Like other ants, crazy ants do not like walking through chalky substances as they interfere with their waxy exoskeleton, which in turn dehydrates them. For this reason, they will avoid going through chalky substances, even if an enticing meal is on the other side.
To use this method most effectively, you can sprinkle the above substance of our choice near entry and exit points, along door frames, window ledges, and even outside near your patio and garden.
How To Get Rid Of Crazy Ants With Insecticides
Crazy ants can be difficult to get rid of, which may mean you’ll need insecticides.
While we do love using natural products and home remedies for pest control options, when it comes to getting rid of crazy ants, you may also need to use more intensive treatments like poisons and insecticides.
Remember, these pests reproduce rapidly and can cause serious damage to homes and the ecosystem, so getting rid of them as soon as possible is key. That said, also keep in mind that insecticides contain harsh chemical toxins that can be dangerous to people, pets and the environment if not used responsibly.
Be sure to always read the directions on the label and to keep all insecticides out of reach of children and pets.
TERRO Liquid Ant Killer
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Because crazy ants reproduce so rapidly, a baited ant killer is often needed to eradicate the colony and the many queens. The above liquid bait by Terro is specifically formulated for common ants like crazy ants and works to kill them using the active ingredient Borax.
The poison does not work immediately, giving the ants enough time to bring it back to the colony, which kills the queen and other worker ants.
Terro Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait Packs
If you find that you like the indoor Terro ant bait, you may also want to consider the outdoor bait station packs. These can be placed along the perimeter of your home or even near where you have noticed crazy ant activity.
Again, this product uses the active ingredient borax and works to lure the ants into the station, where they consume the bait and then take some of it back to the colony. This can kill ants both inside and outside, which is especially ideal for crazy ants, who go far away to forage for food.
Raid Ant and Roach Barrier Spray
If you’re on the hunt for a barrier spray designed to spot target crazy ants, then the above spray by Raid is right for you. This spray works for both indoor and outdoor crazy ant problems and also protects your home and property against spiders, roaches, firebrats, and more.
The spray kills ants on contact and prevents them from returning. Just note that the active ingredient is Deltamithrin, which is a strong insecticide that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment if not used carefully.
Home Defense Insect Killer
When dealing with crazy ants, it’s always a good idea to invest in a perimeter spray that covers a wide range and provides you with a barrier of protection. Remember, these pests travel far away from their nests in search of food.
We like Ortho Home Defense because it works both indoors and outdoors to create a barrier and protect your home from pests like crazy ants, spiders, roaches, centipedes, and more. It comes in different sizes based on your needs and includes an easy application wand to help you get the difficult to reach places on your property.
How To Get Rid Of Crazy Ants – When To Call A Professional
Unlike other ants, who move in a straight line, crazy ants move erratically, making them harder to control.
Because crazy ants are an especially problematic little pest, many homeowners may opt to contact a professional right away. If you notice an abundance of crazy ants inside your home, it’s time to take action.
Remember, these pests can cause quite a bit of damage to electrical equipment and can wreak havoc outdoors as well. If you feel you are dealing with a crazy ant infestation that has gotten out of control, don’t hesitate to contact a local professional.
Most pest control experts charge around $100 to $500 for crazy ant removal, although this price is dependent on your region and the severity of your infestation. However, contacting a professional before crazy ants cause damage can actually save you time and money in the long run.
Once you have found the method for how to get rid of crazy ants that works for you, your next step should be to work on preventative measures, which we will cover below.
How To Prevent Future Crazy Ants In Your Home
Preventing crazy ants is often easier than trying to get rid of them.
Crazy ants can certainly drive you crazy, which is why it’s best to prevent them before they become an overwhelming problem in your home or on your property. Take a look at these expert tips on how to prevent a future crazy ant infestation.
Immediately Remove Any Ant Colonies You Find Outside Your Home
You’ll know crazy ants when you see them, and if you do see them it’s time to get rid of them. Remember, these pests are incredible reproducers and can infiltrate spaces in the billions. If you find a crazy ant colony on your property, get rid of it immediately.
Keep Up With Routine Home Maintenance
Along with keeping an eye out for any crazy ant colonies around your home, it’s also important to protect your home from these pests so they can’t get in. Due to their small size, crazy ants can enter homes through the smallest cracks and crevices.
Make sure doors and windows shut and seal properly and that screens are fitted and free of tears or rips. We also suggest doing routine home examinations and caulking and sealing any cracks and crevices along your walls or your home’s siding or foundation.
Keep Foliage At Least Three Feet From Your Home’s Siding
Keep plants and flowers at least three feet from the perimeter of your home’s siding. This will help reduce your chances of an ant infestation as well as other infestations from pests like spiders, roaches, and earwigs.
Remove Debris On Your Property
Crazy ants like to make their nest on the surface of the soil and above ground, often choosing debris like wood piles, potted plants, leaf litter, trees and hollowed logs. This means that any debris on your property could potentially be a home for these pests, so get rid of it if you can.
Store Food and Garbage Properly Inside Your Home
Storing your food and garbage properly can reduce the chances of crazy ants sniffing out a free meal inside your home. Invest in sealed garbage bins for both inside and outside of the home, and store perishable foods inside the fridge when not in use.
We also suggest keeping pantry foods like grains, cereals, sugars and the likes stored in airtight containers made of thick plastic or glass. Doing this will not only protect your food from pests like crazy ants, but also pests like roaches and meal moths.
Clean and Sweep Often
Keeping your home and property nice and tidy can further help prevent an infestation of crazy ants. Remove any excess waste, garbage or food and don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Wipe down surfaces often and clean, sweep, and vacuum routinely.
Practice Year-Round Pest Control
Last, we always recommend using a year-round pest control regime to help keep pests like crazy ants at bay. This could include using perimeter sprays, traps, ultrasonic sound machines, or even home remedies. Whichever you choose, just be sure to be vigilant and keep an eye out for these crazy little ants.
Best of luck and thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.