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Red Imported Fire Ant

Red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta ). P...

Red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta ). Photo Credit: April Nobile, AntWeb, California Academy of Sciences

The Red Imported Fire Ant

If you live in the Southern United States, you’ve likely had an encounter with the unfortunate Red Imported Fire ant. Stretching from Texas to Maryland, It is not uncommon for fire ant mounds to unexpectedly appear on your property. One Red Imported Fire ant queen can turn out some 1,500 new ant eggs a day. As you can imagine, these ants can create a major pest control problem for homeowners and local residents.

Red Imported Fire ants are reddish-brown in color, with darker abdomens. The worker ants range in size from 1/16 to 1/4 of an inch in length. These ants are very aggressive in nature. When disturbed, fire ant workers pour out of their mound and aggressively attack an intruder by stinging them multiple times. These extremely painful stings will cause welts on the skin and in rare cases even cause death.

In addition to these serious stings, fire ants also cause serious agricultural and property damage. The mound-building activity of the red fire ant has damaged plant roots, lead to the loss of crops, and interfered with agricultural farming. Red Imported Fire ants are also attracted to electrical equipment; causing millions of dollars in damages every year in the United States.

Red Imported Fire ant infestations are very problematic and are not easy to correct. A single treatment from an exterminator will just divide the ants into smaller colonies as they wait out the effects of the pesticide. Controlling Fire Ant populations takes continual efforts and ant control strategies. Multiple treatments, with a combination of drenches, baits, sprays, dusts, and granules has been proven to be most effective; if used consistently.

English: Potential future distribution of the ...

English: Potential future distribution of the red imported fire ant in the United states of America. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)