Everything You Need To Know
About Fire Ants

Have Fire Ants Invaded Your Property?

If you have ever planned a picnic only to have it ruined by ants, then you know how frustrating ants can be. If you have ever planned a picnic only to have it ruined by fire ants, then you understand how they bring your frustration to a whole new level. Not only do they crawl all over everything, but they deliver stinging bites that make them impossible to ignore. Regular ants you may be able to tolerate. Fire ants? No way. So, it is probably safe to say, these are the worst kind of ants to invade your yard or, worse, your home.

fire ant stings on a child's leg

Fire Ant Identification

Fire ants get their name not only from the fact that they are a reddish color, but also from the way their stings cause a burning sensation. These distressing creatures measure around 1.6 to 5 mm in length and are reddish, red-brown, red-black, or an orange, rust-color with their thorax being a darker hue than the rest of their bodies.

These ants build visible soil mounds, often in sunny locations. These can measure as large as 18 cm tall and 60 mm wide and are sometimes dome-shaped. Like many insects, fire ants are least active during the hottest times of the day. They tend to avoid shaded areas and are likely to build mounds in open fields and lawns rather than forests. When fire ants are allowed to establish colonies undisturbed, they will multiply quickly and send out additional queens to build even more colonies nearby. And these ants are very aggressive when their mounds are disturbed.

Outside, they feed primarily on living insects or dead animals but, when they enter homes, they are drawn to fatty foods and sweets.

 

One Of The Worst Types Of Ant Pests To Have Around

  • Fire ants sting--sometimes a lot. If you are thinking, "Don't fire ants "bite?" The answer is yes. But they only bite to get a grip on you, then they sting. And a fire ant's sting causes a painful burning sensation when the stinger administers a venom called solenopsin. While one sting is not dangerous to most people, several stings can kill a small animal.
  • Fire ants don't discriminate. If you are able to get away, fire ants will bite you. If you are not able to get away (infants, elderly, wheelchair-bound, etc.) fire ants will bite you even more. In large doses, their alkaloid venom can become toxic. Be vigilant when dealing with individuals who cannot get away from this danger on their own, especially people who have compromised immune systems.
  • Some people are allergic to fire ant stings. For these folks, fire ant bites can lead to a life-threatening reaction.
  • Fire ants can construct a living raft. When there is flooding, fire ants are known to link together to make a floating raft. If you are in an area of flooding, be careful.
  • Fire ants can contaminate foods. If fire ants have gotten into your home, and they are crawling, first, in filthy, bacteria-laden places and then crawling around on your counters and food sources, they can spread bacteria and contaminate foods.

Tips For Warmer Months

  • Steer clear of ant mounds. If you do not stand on a mound you are less likely to be stung.
  • Remove food sources around your exterior. Keep trash tightly covered, don't leave pet food outside, and clean up any other food sources.
  • Remove water sources. Keeping things dry will help deter many different kinds of pests.
  • If you are going to be eating outside, make sure to keep food and drinks covered as much as possible.

What You Can Do When Cooler Weather Comes

Examine your foundation and walls and fill in any gaps, holes, or cracks that you find. Look carefully around pipes, wire conduit, and other items that enter through your walls. When temperatures drop, ants and a myriad of other pests, will begin looking for a way into warmer areas.

The Best Fire Ant Control Available

If you don't want to fool around when it comes to fire ants, simply reach out to the professionals here at Spencer Pest Services. We'll explain which residential pest control solution would work best for you, so you can have your picnics in peace.

In addition to our programs, we also offer fire ant control services in Greenville and throughout the Upstate of South Carolina. We also service northern Georgia and parts of North Carolina.