an entomology collection

What are fire ants?

Fire ants are an extremely aggressive ant species that are notorious for their painful stings. They will sting any person or pet that comes into contact with them. Fittingly, fire ants get their name equally from their reddish-brown coloration and from the burning sensation that they leave behind on their victims. Fire ants are typically 1/10 to 1/4 inch long.

 

two fire ants on rock

Where will I find fire ants?

Fire ants are common across all of the United States, though they are especially numerous in the southern areas of the country. In the summertime, fire ant hills can be hard to avoid in lawns across the country.

Fire ants aggressively build their nests and defend them from threats by viciously attacking and stinging anyone who happens to step on one.

While they are commonly found outdoors, fire ants are also known to make their colonies inside hollow doors or wall voids inside of homes.

Are fire ants dangerous?

While fire ants can bite, their notoriety comes from the burning stings they give to people that come into direct contact with them. Fire ants have a stinger on their abdomen that injects venom into their victims. While a sting from one ant is painful, fire ants’ strength comes from their numbers, and being stung by several at once can be dangerous or even deadly, especially for those with allergies.

In the wild, fire ants can overwhelm and attack small animals. They are also known to feed on plants and crops, which can wreak havoc on farms. Inside homes, fire ants also pose an indirect threat to the people inside due to their tendency to chew on electrical wires and insulation. Beyond property destruction, this behavior can lead to catastrophic results such as house fires.

Why do I have a fire ant problem?

In the springtime, pairs of reproductive ants grow wings and create mating swarms, each pair flying off in different directions to form new colonies with the female reproductive ant becoming the new queen. If fire ants happen to swarm near your home, don’t be surprised if you start seeing your yard covered in fire ant hills practically overnight.

Many homeowners bring fire ants into their own yards and homes by accident. If you’ve recently brought new plants from a nursery into your garden or inside your home, fire ants may be hiding inside. Furthermore, during the transportation of new plants, they may find their way into your car and wind up nesting in your garage.

Fire ants prefer to nest in open areas with lots of moisture, which perfectly describes many yards across America during the spring and summer months when temperatures soar and humidity is high. If your home is accessible and can provide food and water resources, don’t be surprised if fire ants quickly find their way from your yard to your kitchen.

How do I get rid of fire ants?

Fire ants are simultaneously territorial and aggressive. They will also expand their colony quickly turning a small fire ant problem into a large one in a small amount of time. These factors make them incredibly difficult to prevent for the average homeowner. If prevention fails, completely treating an ant infestation on your own can be next to impossible.

Don’t leave the health and safety of your home and yard to chance. Contact the professionals at Pestmaster® Services to discuss our comprehensive ant treatment program. Our expert technicians will use the latest and greatest eco-conscious pest reduction techniques to help you take back your yard and keep it ant-free for the future.

 

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