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Red Imported Fire Ants

Solenopsis invicta

Red imported fire ants, also commonly known as just “fire ants”, are dangerous, vicious, and quite common. These invasive ants are known to cause millions of dollars worth of damage annually, and they can be a great physical threat to both humans and animals. They get their name from the painful burning sensation they cause when they sting. These ants should be avoided at all costs.

Red Imported Fire Ants
Color Dark reddish brown
Legs 6
Shape Segmented; oval
Size 1/8"-3/8"
Antennae True

Fire Ants vs. Other Species of Red Ants

Identifying the difference between fire ants and red ants can be tricky. This is due to the fact that not all red ant species are fire ants, nor are all fire ants exclusively red. Many of the identifying factors in fire ants vs red ants, such as body segmentation, antennae composition, and stinger placement, are too small to see with the naked eye alone. To ensure proper identification, it may be helpful to collect a few and bring them to a trusted exterminator, such as Stark Exterminators.

Habits of Imported Fire Ants

Red imported fire ants like to nest inside soil in moist areas. Oftentimes, this results in large mounds in open areas that can be easily spotted from a distance. They also like to create their nests under objects such as logs, bricks and rocks. These ants feed mostly on young plants and seeds. Despite their low-key diet, these ants are extremely aggressive and will actively attack anything that comes near them. Red imported fire ants are also incredibly resilient and can survive extreme conditions. When they sense water rising, they will all clump together to create a vessel and float to safety.

Are Fire Ants Dangerous?

Fire ants can be dangerous, especially if you are prone to an allergic reaction from their venom. This is the case for a minority of the population, but important to be aware of. However, this type of ant tends to bite and sting only when they feel threatened. They do so by latching onto your skin with their tiny jaws and injecting their venom through the stinger in their abdomen.

Red imported fire ants are also dangerous in terms of the damage they can cause to the local environment, including agricultural problems, structural problems in buildings and damage to electrical equipment. In the U.S. alone, hundreds of millions of dollars in damage is the result of fire ant problems.

Are Red Imported Fire Ants an Invasive Species?

Yes. Red imported fire ants came over from South America in the early 1900s. They have upended many other species, including the native fire ant species, as they’ve spread across the globe.  They are common in the Southern and Southwestern United States.

What Attracts Fire Ants?

Fire ant workers are attracted to fatty or oily foods. Dog and cat foods are a particular favorite of fire ants. Keeping these foods in sealed containers can help prevent a fire ant problem.

Signs You Have an Imported Red Fire Ant Infestation

The most obvious sign of a fire ant infestation is finding a nesting mound in your yard. Contrary to most ant mounds, fire ant mounds won’t have a center hole, as their colonies are made up of underground tunnels. Additionally, you can identify a fire ant infestation by looking for soil that appears “fluffy” or recently moved after it rains. If you see one of these mounds, avoid it and have a professional exterminator remove the source of the fire ants.  Another sign is to find the workers traveling around your home.

How to Prevent an Imported Fire Ant Infestation

After removing the source of the fire ants, the most important way to prevent an imported fire ant infestation is to make sure every crack and crevice going into your home is sealed. Additionally, rid any outdoor sources of standing water and make sure your trees are trimmed and not touching your home. Storing food and food scraps in closed containers, as well as keeping floors clean of debris, can aid in preventing a fire ant infestation.

How to Remove an Imported Red Fire Ant Infestation

Bait traps are the most effective defense against an imported fire ant infestation. The workers will forage and find the poison, bring it back to their nests, and kill the rest of their colony.

For a thorough imported red fire ant removal plan, seek the help of a professional. Our team of experts can treat your fire ant infestation no matter the severity. Contact us using the form below.

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