I am not sure we have identified an acceptable balance with Crazy Ants. They are not as much of a safety threat as the RIFA, but they are an economic threat, on several levels.
Other than eating some pest insects, few redeeming qualities can be found. The Crazy Ant will invade the household, and is known for doing damage to electrical outlets and electronic equipment. Nursery growers live in fear of having Crazy Ants invade their greenhouses and growing plots.
Crazy Ants are predators, foragers, and scavengers with a varied diet. They will eat grease and proteins like the RIFA, but they will also eat sweets. They will eat insects, dead or alive and can be a pest of bee hives and bird nests.
While Crazy Ants do not sting in the same way Fire Ants do, they are capable of biting. I have not incurred any bites yet, and I am not sure what triggers them to bite. I’m really not trying to test them though!
Difficult to control
Control of Crazy Ants is made difficult by the fact that it is sometimes difficult to find their mound. They will nest under potted plants, wood stacks, tree stumps, and compost piles.
Unfortunately, the chemicals that are recommended for controlling them are very toxic and pose a risk to pets and children. Additional recommendations are also objectionable to organic gardeners such as removing all mulch. I cannot imagine trying to manage my garden without mulch.
Our experience with Crazy Ants
When Crazy Ants first appeared in my landscape, I was disheartened. I knew that I was going to have to find a way to live with them since the chemical options were out. That worked for a little while. But when they began to venture into the game room, where our computers and stereo equipment reside, I knew that I was going to have to take some kind of action.
I decided to try the one thing I am sure repels other ants, molasses. I broadcast a band of dried molasses fairly thickly around the entire house, and added a trail of it on the brick ledge that runs along the game room wall.
It took several days, but the trail of ants began to visibly decrease with each day. Within a week or so, they were virtually gone. That encouraged me to broadcast it thickly in the two beds in which I had found them nesting under pots of bromeliads. We gave the entire yard a healthy dose as well.
Within a month, I could not find a Crazy Ant. That was three years ago, and I have not seen one since. Fingers crossed, but as far as we are concerned, molasses is a first defense.
Regular use of garden products containing molasses also seems to help. You can use liquid horticultural molasses, sprayed at the recommended concentration. It goes quickly with a hose end sprayer. You can also use a slow release organic fertilizer that contains DM, such as Arbor Gate Organic Blend or Microlife.