The impact of the imported red fire ant is estimated to be over one billion dollars annually in our state. These pests pose a serious health threat to both plants and animals. This invasive species was first introduced to our country through the port of Mobile Alabama. This introduction occurred sometime around 1930, and the pests came from South America. Since that time, this insect has spread throughout the southeast.
How to Identify a Fire Ant
Fire ants are often mistaken for other varieties of red ants, black ants, and even carpenter ants. The red imported fire ant is reddish(orange) to black in color and are approximately ⅛” to ¼” in length. Often times though, the easiest way to identify this pest is by their mounds. The nests(mounds) of this pest are typically a foot to three feet in diameter and can go up to three feet underground. The dome shaped above ground mound is constructed of loose soil, is typically non symmetrical, and is very conspicuous. Each of these mounds will contain 100,000 to 500,000 or more ants.
The fire ant is most noted for it’s painful, burning sting. When nests are disturbed, the ants defense mechanism is to quickly attack any intruders. Fire ants first bite their victims to anchor themselves and then they begin to sting their victim multiple times pivoting from the anchor point in a circular motion. The stinging, burning sensation these stings deliver are a result of the substance that is injected into the skin by the ovipositor. Unlike wasps, bees, and many other insects that also sting, the fire ant sting is caused by the injection of an alkaloid substance as opposed to proteins. Both stings deliver pain, but in the case of the fire ant the sting also results in a raised white pustule. In some cases an allergic reaction will occur. In severe cases this reaction results in death.
Protect your family, pets, and property from this unwelcome pest. Click here for a free estimate or call 1-866-PESTCOM (737-8266) to speak with a certified pest professional about this or any of our value packed services.