Both native and Red Imported Fire Ants can sting. Red Imported Fire Ants are very aggressive;
their sting can cause reactions anywhere
from an irritation and nausea to even more severe reactions in humans.
Red Fire Ants have been known to repeatedly
attack animals that may intrude on their nests.
The Red Imported Fire Ant
is particularly aggressive.
They are known to attack people, plants, and animals,
as well as cause damage to homes, buildings,
air-conditioning units, and telephone wires.
There are two kinds of Red Imported Fire Ants;
the single-queen and multiple-queen forms.
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.
Their usual activity is from the spring time through the 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 during
the winter months under bathtubs (when on a slab), or next to hot
water heaters. The Southern Fire Ant will usually nest 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 needs only a few workers to start a new colony.
They can develop a new mound several hundred feed away
from their previous location almost overnight.
Flooding causes colonies to leave their mounds and float until
they can reach
land to establish a new mound.
Colonies also can migrate to indoor locations.
For more information about Fire Ants, refer to Top 10 Things to Know About Fire Ants