This species of ants is highly aggressive and will attack the smallest potential threat. They do sting, and it can be a painful, itchy inconvenience.

What do fire ants look like?
Fire ants are a reddish brown color, and range in size from 1/16 to 1/5 of an inch. Though the size may not be intimidating, this ant has the ability to lift 5 times its own weight, whereas an elephant can only lift 1/5 of its weight!

Where do they live and what do they eat?
Fire ant mounds can be more than 15 inches high, 15 inches in diameter and up to 5 feet deep. To figure out if the mound is indeed home to fire ants, place a long stick in/on top of the mound and watch the behavior. Fire ants will attack the stick, while other ants will focus on guarding the queen. Fire ants are omnivores and while they prefer proteins, they aren’t picky eaters. The range of food includes other insects, mice, snakes, turtles, ground-nesting animals, seedlings, saplings, young trees, plant bulbs, fruit and grass.

Ever wondered how all the ants follow the same exact path, even though they can’t see the rest of the line?
Fire ants have an amazing function of pheromones (chemicals the ants release at the abdomen to communicate with other ants) that they use as a foraging tool as well as defense mechanism. When searching for food, these ants leave a trail of pheromones so that other ants can find the food source and also navigate the way back home to the queen. The defense mechanism is helpful as when the ant is in danger or hurt, it releases high concentration of pheromones which puts other fire ants in a state of frenzy. This is when they are highly aggravated and will attack anything. In lower amounts, it will simply attract the fire ants, and is more of a “come over here” signal.

Are fire ants dangerous?
Fire ants cause painful stings, and in some cases, allergic reactions. In most cases, being stung by one or a few fire ants will only cause a little pain at the time of the bite, minor swelling, and itching that might last a couple days. Allergic reactions, while not likely, are possible after a few stings. The severe cases stem from multiple bites, such as incidents when the victim is not able to get away from the ants or brush them off the skin. Fatalities have occurred, mostly in children.

Fire ants are a nuisance, and in large numbers they can do some damage. Call us today and avoid the hassle!

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