What do Fire Ants Look like?
Fire ants were accidentally introduced into America in the 1930s. It was not until 1957 that eradication was attempted but it was too late. Red imported fire ant, have now spread throughout most of the United States southern states.
These highly invasive red imported fire ant ants first turned up in Australia at the northern port of Brisbane in 2001. One large outbreak in southeast Queensland remains active, but contained. What do these terrors look like though, from all the horror stories they must be huge right?
Wrong. These guys are tiny measuring only 2-6mm in size but their sting and high numbers enable them to overwhelm and kill prey much larger than themselves. They look almost translucent reddish brown color and have notably large mandibles and a large abdomen, some have stingers other ant species do not.
When identifying them look for the head and thorax size which are also very pronounced.
What’s the difference between red ants and fire ants?
Ant identification can be difficult as they. The main difference between the two species is that the red ants are light brown in color . Whereas fire ants are the stinging ants that belong to the genus Solenopsis. Fire ants include red ants as well.
Red ants and fire ants are a group of ants that are aggressive. They bite with their mouths, holding on and then stinging to inject venom into the prey. The venom causes a burning pain at the site of bite. Since some may feel the pain of a fire, these ants are called fire ants. Imported Fire ants are also called ginger ants or tropical fire ants.
There are however many similarities such as the following:
- – Red and fire ants are stinging ants to inject venoms.
- – Both ants belong to the genus Solenopsis under the class Insecta.
- – They have a similar body size.
- – The body of both types of ants is segmented into the head, thorax, and abdomen.
- – They have two petioles between the thorax and the abdomen.
- -Both types of ants have three pairs of jointed legs attached to the thorax.
- – The fertile males of ants are called drones while the fertile females are called queens.
- – The sterile, wingless females are called workers or soldiers.
- – Destroying the nests is the easiest elimination method for both types of ants.
Where Do Red Fire Ants Nest?
Fire ants build nests, called ant mound, by pushing up soil as they tunnel in the earth. The fire ant nests in open areas in almost any type of soil, in sunny areas, such as pastures, parks, playgrounds, lawns and as well as agricultural land and wilderness areas. Fire ant workers can create many nests that look dome shaped. So make sure to watch out for mounds in open areas.
What attracts fire ants to your house?
Fire ants are a pest you do not want inside your home or building. Their tendency for aggression and ability to sting means they can even be dangerous to have around, especially for those with allergies to painful stings. What are the things which really attract fire ants? The list includes:
Cleanliness – These pests look for scraps and having a lot of garbage around your home is a easyway to attract them. Clean up the kitchens and floors, making sure all food is up and out of the reach from them.
Holes in exterior walls – Fire ants are not very big. There may be a lot of them, but the tiny ants can get inside through small holes in exterior walls from broken siding or vents in brick. Even holes in the walls from utility cables can create enough space for them to get through. Make sure door sweeps are installed on exterior doors and garage doors. Mounds can also be created here.
Food storage – Fire ants share some of the same characteristics as other ants. Ants want to find food to bring back to the rest of their colony. If you have food such as pet food stored outdoors, make sure the food is sealed up tight. Other food should be stored if you have a fire ant infestation, too, until the ant problem has been taken care of.
Moisture issues -These ants don’t always need a lot of soil in order to exist, but they do require a certain level of moisture to survive. They can sometimes end up in weird places like rooftops and wall voids. If you live in an area where you have a lot of ants, you should make sure leaks are repaired around your home and inspect the pipes within walls. If you have faucets outside, make sure those get cleaned up.
How Do I Get Rid of Fire Ants?
Fire ants are difficult to control for several reasons: the colonies are often very large and extend under the ground a great distance. Colonies often have multiple queens, so they can recover if a part of the colony and a queen or two have been killed, and they often occur in large numbers, so that when you have eliminated one colony another will likely move in to occupy the space.
When it comes to fire ant control, there are a couple of popular choices, including baits, mound drench products and dust insecticides. Baits are slow-acting when compared to other treatment methods, and can take months to reach the desired result.
However, they do typically achieve 80 to 90 percent fire ant control. Most baits are corn grits treated with pesticide. Foraging ants take the tainted food back to their colony, where it is eaten by the queen and other ants. Some result in the queen becoming infertile, while others kill her and the colony.
Using baits for fire ant removal is a low-toxicity option, as the baits are spread over a wide area. Mound drenches involve pouring a liquid pesticide directly onto the fire ant hill. The liquid penetrates the below ground levels of the mound, killing the ants inside after a few hours.
Once applied, these products leave only traces of residue on the surface.
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