Appearance and Size Facts
- Red Imported Fire ants have reddish brown body and a darker abdomen
- Have a stinger and can deliver a very painful sting
- Size: Range from 1/16 inch to 1/4 inch in length
- Typically nest outdoors in sunny areas of exposed soil
- Prefer high-protein foods, but will feed on both plants and animal matter
Behavior and Habitat of Fire Ants
The Red Imported Fire ant has spread to more than 13 southern and western states and continues to expand its range. These ants can cause serious medical, agricultural, and property damage. They are very aggressive and will sting repeatedly, especially when their colony/mound is disturbed. Fire ants typically nest outdoors in sunny areas of exposed soil or lawns. Fire ant infestations may reach 30 to 100 single-queen mounds per acre, containing up to 80,000 ants, and even more when multiple-queen mounds are located. They prefer high-protein and lipid-based foods, but will feed on almost any plant or animal matter, as well as sugary substances.
Signs of Infestation of Fire Ants
Look for fire ant workers and swarmers and sandy earthen mounds (most visible after recent rainfall). Fire ant swarmers are also attracted to shiny and/or reflective objects, such as vehicles and swimming pools. Although swarmers cannot physically sting, these can lead to finding nesting areas in the vicinity.
Tips for Prevention of Fire Ants
Keep food items secured and pet food off of the floors. Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed 2 foot from the home. Caulk any visible cracks around windows and doors.
Fire Ant Gallery
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