Green Army can fight this battle easily, so don’t delay and take advantage of our free inspection and quotation on the property followed by a treatment that will erradicate this nasty insect.
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- No need for fire ant mound treatments
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- More than 20 million people were stung by fire ants last year.
- One queen is capable of laying 1,500 eggs per day!
- Fire ants are extremely aggressive and will attack if disturbed.
- Fire ant mounds exist even under sidewalks and driveways.
A little more in depth background on the most prevalent fire ant in the United States:
Red imported fire ants defend their nests aggressively, and can sting repeatedly. Their venom causes a severe burning and itching sensation, and in rare cases, may trigger a life threatening allergic reaction. Red Imported Fire Ants can put people and pets at risk for stings, and impact wildlife populations. If you’ve got fire ants, you may need to treat your property to eliminate them. Before you rush out for some fire ant killer, though, you should be sure you’ve got fire ants. Ants play an important role in the ecosystem, and you don’t want to kill the wrong kind.
To identify red imported fire ants, look at three things: their physical features, the ant nest, and the way the ants behave.
Differentiating Fire Ants from Other Ant Species
Look for the following traits to identify red imported fire ants:
Nodes. Fire ants, whether native or imported, have two nodes at the constricted “waist” between the thorax and abdomen.
Antennal clubs. The antennae of fire ants (genus Solenopsis) consist of 10 segments, with a two-segment club.
Small size. Red imported fire ant workers measure just 1.5 mm to 4 mm.
Size variation. Red imported fire ant workers vary in size according to caste.
Color. Red imported fire ants are reddish brown, and the abdomen is darker than the rest of the body
Standard proportion. The heads of red imported fire ants will never be wider than their abdomens in any worker caste.
It can be difficult to differentiate red imported fire ants from native fire ant species. We recommend collecting several ants from a suspected fire ant colony and taking a quick photo and e-mailing to our office as the first step in properly identifying the fire ants, or having us out for a free inspection.
Identifying Red Imported Fire Ant Nests
Fire ants live underground, in tunnels and chambers which they construct. When conditions are right for breeding, they expand their nests above ground. Looking at the construction of these mounds can help you identify red imported fire ant nests.
Imported fire ant mounds tend to be constructed of loose, crumbly soil. They resemble the piles left behind by digging gophers.
Mounds usually appear in spring or fall, or after cool, wet weather when breeding conditions are best.
Unlike those of native ants, red imported fire ant mounds do not have an opening in the center. The ants enter the mound from tunnels below ground level.
Red imported fire ant mounds usually measure up to 18″ in diameter, but will often be considerably smaller.
Fire ants build mounds in open, sunny locations.
When the mound is disturbed, white brood will be visible. The larvae and pupae may look like grains of white rice in the soil.
Fire Ant Behavior
Fire ants are the hotheads of the ant world. You may be able to identify fire ants by observing their behavior.
Fire ants defend their nests aggressively. Any disturbance of the nest will elicit a quick response, with dozens of fire ant workers storming from the nest to do battle.
Fire ants will typically climb vertical surfaces when disturbed. Look for fire ant workers on tall grasses or other surfaces around the mound.
A queen is generally the largest individual in the colony. Her primary function is reproduction; she may live for 6 to 7 years and can produce up to 3,500 eggs in a single day.
Males mate with the queen for the sole purpose of producing offspring. Their lifespan is approximately 4 to 5 days.
The workers are sterile females which build and repair the nest, care for the young, defend the nest, and feed both young and adult ants. The worker ants also search for, and collect supplies in order to build up the colony. They typically have a life span of 1 month.