Pest Facts: Red Imported Fire Ants

Red Imported Fire Ants

Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta)

Color:Dark reddish brown
Legs:Six
Shape:Segmented; oval
Size:1/8-3/8
Antennae:Yes
Flight:No

Red imported fire ants are found in Arkansas, Alabama, California, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Maryland, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia.

As their name suggests, red imported fire ants are not native to the United States. They originated in South America and were introduced to many other countries through ships’ ballasts.

Habits
Red imported fire ants are destructive and a health hazard. They readily consume many of the same foods humans do.

Habitat
Red imported fire ants prefer open, grassy areas with direct sunlight. Their large mounded nests can extend several feet underground.

Threats
Red imported fire ants can invade homes and businesses looking for food. They’re attracted to electrical currents and can cause extensive damage to air conditioners, transformers, traffic lights, etc. Red imported fire ants are aggressive and people are often stung multiple times. The stings are painful and some people are allergic.

Prevention
Seal up cracks or crevices with caulk and store trash barrels away from your home. Keep food cleaned up and sealed in airtight containers. Take great care to avoid red imported fire ant mounds. Call a professional pest control agency immediately to eradicate these pests.

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