Fire Ants

Identification

  • Colour Reddish hue in shades ranging from medium to black.
  • Size Worker ants from 2 mm to 6 mm; queens can be up to 25 mm long.
  • Description Fire ants have two small segments or nodes between the thorax and abdomen, and a two-segmented club at the end of each antenna.

General Facts

Why do I have fire ants?

Fire ants live in mounds of mud and leaf litter, and often make nests in areas that are moist with abundant sunlight, especially lawns, parks, fields, and meadows. They can colonize in nearly any variety of soil and can also nest in rotting stumps and logs or around the base of trees. Attracted to the debris and litter left by humans, fire ants sometimes enter homes to find food and water, and may also nest around the base of a building. Fire ants are foragers and will eat just about anything that serves as a protein source. This includes dead insects, fly larvae, grasshoppers, other ant species, caterpillars, and moths. However, they are also aggressive and will attack and eat small, ground-dwelling vertebrates, and newly hatched lizards, snakes, turtles, quails, chickens, and song birds. The ants can even inflict fatal wounds on calves and deer fawns. Carcasses of large animals also provide ample food for fire ants, which also attack and feed upon animals that are left immobile due to illness or wounds. Because of their flexible diets, fire ants can easily infest new territories – and will even invade carpenter ant and termite nests, feed on the insects inside, and take up residence there.

How worried should I be about fire ants?

Fire ants are not afraid to challenge humans and have an extremely painful sting, akin to being burned by fire. The sting carries venomous alkaloids, which commonly causes pain, irritation, and pustules which may become infected if scratched. For sensitive individuals, fire ant stings may cause a severe allergic reaction, leading to severe chest pain, nausea, severe sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling, slurred speech, and if not treated, death. As well as the danger they pose to humans, their mounds can be unsightly, with some going as far as 1.5 metres deep, and 40 centimetres above ground. They can also ruin crops, feeding on germinating seeds, and eating young corn, sorghum, and soybeans. Fire ants are not easily removed, since they can form colonies with dozens of queens and up to 250,000 workers. To truly protect yourself and your family from fire ants, you need to use professional pest control services.

How can I prevent fire ants invading?

Clean up food debris and crumbs immediately, Remove any standing water around the property, Move wood piles away from structures, Trim back any overhanging trees and shrubs

Other pests related to Fire Ants

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