Fire Ant Facts

The typical fire ant is a common sight throughout the United States and has even been known to help control other pest infestations throughout surrounding ecosystems. Despite this help, fire ants and fire ant mounds can be an unsightly addition in a home’s front lawn, and can even grow out of control if not managed properly.

Types of Ants and the Society of the Colony

The term fire ant is the general name that acts as an umbrella over a large number of specific species of red ants that inhabit the United States. The types of ants that are under this umbrella include pyramid ants, pharaoh ants, harvester ants, and finally the most notorious: the red imported fire ant. All these species of ants closely resemble one another, and all share the same biology. All ants have a body divided into three sections: head, thorax and tail. Red ants also have antennae that are bent at a 90 degree angle, and sport the standard six legs.

Ants are very social insects that make their home in a colony which was built by their queen after recently swarming and mating. Swarming usually occurs during the spring and fall after a rainfall. Winged males and winged females will leave their current colonies to swarm, pair off and mate. After mating the male ant dies while the female ant will shed her wings, and burrow into soil to build her own colony. These new colonies are generally found near wood sources, such as a fallen tree or near a house, and in sunny areas. After burrowing the new queen will give birth to a small number of eggs and feed the new hatchlings herself. These new ants will either be winged males, reproductives, or sterile female worker ants. From this point on the queen will continue to increasingly produce more offspring resulting in over 500,000 new ants in a single colony.

The fact that ants can be social insects can be seen in the way that they interact with other nearby colonies of the same species. A single colony of ants can be very territorial and attack intruders, but fire ants are known to actually share queens with other nearby colonies resulting in a rapid growth of even more colonies and swarming. The resilience of these ants is evident in their survival tactics. If a colony is subjected to flood water, or attacked by outside forces such as a human with chemicals, it only takes the queen and a handful of worker ants to survive in order make a brand new colony a few feet away just overnight. Therefore, it is important to completely eradicate this pest problem from the start.

The Red Imported Fire Ant and Sting Treatments

The Red Imported Fire Ant has become a rapidly growing problem in the south that threatens to spread all the way across the United States. Accidentally imported here from South America in the 1930s transported through a cargo ship that had docked in Alabama, these ants have spread from all across the southern states and into Texas. If you come into contact with fire ants, they can give a nasty bite that will appear as raised skin that is small, round in shape, and will sting and itch. Severe ant bites can cause secondary infection if scratched which will release pus, and can scar. It is possible that after being bit a human can experience anaphylaxis or a severe reaction over the entire body. Fire ant stings treatment include using anything from an anti-itch cream such as Benadryl or a simple home remedy. Call your doctor or medical professional to discuss the treatment that is right for you.

Call CANTU at 972-562-9999 (Dallas, Fort Worth) or 713-956-7822 (Houston) and schedule an appointment today if ants have made an unsightly appearance in your yard.