Both native and Red Imported Fire Ants can sting. Red Imported Fire Ants are very aggressive and
their sting can cause reactions ranging
from irritation and nausea to even more severe reactions.
Red Fire Ants are also known to attack animals that intrude on their nests.
Besides attacking people and animals they can also cause damage to plants, buildings,
air-conditioning units, and telephone wires. The reason is not clear, but fire ants seem to be attracted to electrical currents, and they cause damage by nesting in places such as electrical junction boxes.
There are two kinds of Red Imported Fire Ants;
the single-queen and multiple-queen types.
Workers in single-queen colonies are territorial, foraging only within
Workers from multiple-queen colonies are not territorial; they freely
move from one mound to another, which has resulted in a dramatic increase
in the number of mounds per acre.
Areas infested with single-queen
colonies contain 40-150 mounds per acre (rarely more than 7 million
ants per acre).
In areas with multiple-queen colonies, there may be 200 or more mounds
40 million Red Imported Fire Ants per acre.
The Red Imported Fire Ant builds mounds in almost any type of soil,
but prefers open, sunny areas such as pastures, parks, lawns, meadows,
and cultivated fields. Colonies can also be located in or under buildings.
colonies can reach 18 inches in height, depending on the type of soil.
Many times mounds are located in rotting logs and around stumps and
The mound has no opening in the center like most
Ant mounds. Red Imported Fire Ants enter and exit the mound through underground tunnels. When their mounds
are disturbed, the workers will come out of the ground and sting
The Red Imported Fire Ant can have huge colonies with 300-500,000 workers
foraging at distances
of 100 yards.
Fire ant activity ranges from the spring into fall months. During the spring and summer months, the active mounds send out
winged swarmer ants whose sole job is to start new colonies.
Sometimes the Red Imported Fire Ant will nest inside buildings during the
winter months under bathtubs (when on a slab), or next to hot
water heaters. The Southern Fire Ant usually nests in loose soil,
but at times they can be found in woodwork or masonry. Their nests may
be seen as large crevices in the ground that spread out from 2-4 feet.
Southern Fire Ant nests can also be found
under houses, under boards or stones, or in cracks in the concrete.
Colonies frequently migrate from one site to another.
The queen only needs a few workers to start a new colony.
They can develop a new mound several hundred feet away
from their previous location in a matter of hours.
Flooding causes colonies to leave their mounds and float until
they can reach land to establish a new mound..
For more information about Fire Ants, refer to Top 10 Things to Know About Fire Ants