Signs of Infestation
Fire ants are small reddish pests usually about 1.6 to 5 mm in length. Typically, fire ants nest in the ground; however, nests can appear as visible mounds in your yard. These colonies can have up to 250,000 worker ants who are very active and aggressive, they will sting any animal that intrudes their nest.
The most common signs of a fire ant infestation are the sightings of ant hills. It’s more common to see their sandy earthen mounds after rainfall.
Another sign you might have fire ants is if you or your family are complaining about being stung.
The Facts About Fire Ants
Fire ant colonies can grow incredibly fast! Within 5 months 15-20 workers can expand to over 7,000, and by the time the colony is 3 years old they can have a population of over 50,000. At maturity, a fire ant colony can grow to well over 400,000 ants. When a single acre of land can hold up to 400 mounds, their army grows exponentially!
The fire ants use their mandibles to grip their prey when attacking them, they inject venom from their stingers into their prey. Fire ant stings are incredibly painful to their victims and can be fatal to some. The sting usually results in red bumps and white pustules, which can lead to scarring.
Unlike typical ants, fire ants are omnivores – meaning they’ll feed on animal or vegetable sources of food. Fire ant workers typically survive on a diet of seeds, insects, earthworms, ticks, spiders, arthropod eggs, honeydew and other sweet materials. Fire ant larvae are fed by worker adults and stay on a liquid diet until their third larval instar is complete.
Fire ants mature from egg to adult in 30 days. Workers typically only live about 180 days while queens can live from two to six years. Fire ants prefer dry, warm and sunny conditions which is why they’re so fond of the southern United States.
Fire ants have a unique way of dealing with floods. They form a “raft” and float until they find dry land — they operate the raft in rotations to assure that no ant drowns in the process. On the plus side, fire ants cannot survive a typical winter, which is why they haven’t spread much further north than Tennessee. During the winter, fire ant colonies will move under pavement and home foundations, which can cause serious structural damage to your home.
Fire ants can cause real damage in both rural and urban settings:
They will damage equipment, infrastructure and can harm livestock.
Worker ants are attracted to electricity, so you can sometimes find their homes in electrical boxes, outlets, and even traffic lights.
Fire ants cause millions of dollars of damage to livestock annually by invading pastures and attacking animals.
Their presence can cause livestock to alter their grazing behavior.
Fire Ant Treatment and Prevention
The most reliable method of fire ant treatment is to have your pest control company inspect your home and determine how to eliminate the ants and prevent further infestation in your home. If you suspect you may have a fire ant infestation then you should be cautious and observant when walking around your home and yard. Where ever you see a mound there’s likely going to be ants.
Arrow Pest Control uses high-grade moisture activated granules, only issued to licensed pest control companies, to kill fire ants at all stages of life. Every home serviced by Arrow Termite and Pest Control receives indoor and outdoor fire ant treatment. If you should have any issues with your initial treatment, our experts will be happy to come back and fix the problem.