Fire ants are some of the most invasive insect pests. Even though there are several fire ant species, red and black fire ants cause painful stings that could injure or even kill livestock, domestic animals, or humans. The red fire ant was accidentally imported into the United States in the 1930’s and has since been a major nuisance in most states. These ants have the ability to reproduce rapidly, have an aggressive swarming behavior, and have the most venomous sting. Fortunately, these fire ants do not show up often in Arizona.
What are fire ants?
Fire ants are reddish or black ants that are about one-eighth of an inch long. There are six species, and you can find three of them in Arizona. These are the southern fire ant and two desert fire species. They nest on the ground and at times, their mounds are visible since they can be as large as 24 inches wide and 7 inches high. They could have colonies with as many as 250,000 workers that are as active as they are aggressive and they sting anything they think is an intruder.
Diet and habitat
Fire ants are omnivorous, which means that can eat both meat and vegetables. Their diet mostly comprises of insects, ticks, earthworms, honeydew, arthropod eggs, spiders and other sweets. Their plant sources of food include seeds. Fire ants also eat young or newborn vertebrate animals like rodents, birds, and calves. In general, fire ants readily eat carrion whether they caused its death or not. The adult workers feed the larvae, which only feeds on a liquid diet until they complete their third larval instar. When the larva gets to the fourth instar they can digest solid foods.
Fire ants spend about 30 days to go from egg to adult stage and while the workers could live up to 180 days, the queen lives anywhere from two to six years.
What are the signs of fire ant infestation?
A common sign of infestation is the worker or swarmer ants’ activity. You may notice an ant mound at the edge of your yard or even see these little pests in your kitchen. Their sandy mounds, which become more visible after a very recent rainfall, are usually seen in throughout your yard or near cracks in your sidewalk. Fire ants like warm and sunny conditions, which is why you can find them in Arizona. They mostly prefer to be in dry areas avoiding the shade.
How do they attack?
When attacking, they use the mandibles to grip on to their prey and then they use their stinger to inject venom into the skin. Fire ant stings can be very painful at best and fatal at worst. If you are stung by fire ants, possible reactions are sweating, nausea and itching. If a reaction happens, take the victim to emergency medical services immediately. Fire ants can pose very serious problems to humans and therefore you should be careful if you run into them.
What to do if you find fire ants around your home
The most effective and reliable fire ant extermination method is contacting Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Elimination. Do it yourself methods are rarely effective due to the nature of these pests.
Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Elimination has the knowledge and the treatment methods to exterminate fire ants from your home completely.