In this Pest Profile series, we're highlighting fire ants. The clocks have moved forward an hour which means spring and summer are quickly approaching. While enjoying time outside, the last thing you want to deal with is a fire ant invasion.
Surprisingly, fire ants were brought into North America accidentally. They were brought in on a cargo boat from South America, which arrived in Alabama in the 1930s. Since then, they have spread aggressively, especially in the South, where warmer weather makes it easy for them to survive. Fire ants live in colonies, which can contain over 200,000 ants. Growing a visible colony this large takes several months. Colonies are typically comprised of female worker ant and one queen responsible for laying the eggs.
What They Look Like
Fire ants are identified by their dull red body color, ranging from reddish brown to reddish black. They are small at around 1/8 to 3/8 inch in size. They have six legs, a noticeable thin waist, and clubbed or bent antennae.
Where They Live
Fire ant nests are sometimes flattened or irregular in shape. Nests are usually found in the soil near foundations like sheds or homes or in landscaping. Although fire ants are mostly found outdoors, they can gain access to the interior of a home through AC units and HVAC systems.
What Happens When They Sting
Although it looks like fire ants bite when they attack, they actually sting. The stings often come in clusters as fire ants attack their victims in groups. For most people, fire ant stings are just an inconvenience and will heal on their own. But for some, the results can be much more severe.
A fire ant sting usually begins with intense pinching or burning shortly after the sting. This pain is short-lived and lasts anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Following that is itching or burning that can range from mild to intense. Over the next few days, the itching tends to become more prevalent. It’s important to resist the urge to scratch the stings. Scratching can open the blisters and result in an infection.
Anaphylaxis is less common but can be life-threatening. Symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:
How To Prevent Fire Ants
Pestech of Greenville is here to help reduce the threat of fire ants on your property. We offer several treatments, including our one-time treatment. This is best done before the end of May and has a one-year guarantee. Technicians will treat your lawn, kill current fire ants, and prevent future nesting. We also offer other services as well that can address fire ant issues in your yard, on your property, and around your home.
If you come in contact with a fire ant hill on your property, never stomp on it. Stomping on a mound can provoke an attack. Removing hills should be left to the professionals.
Taking preventative measures can help ensure fire ants don’t return. For example, maintaining your yard and eliminating standing water are easy ways to prevent fire ants and other pests like mosquitoes and termites.
Pestech of Greenville is here to help keep you safe so you can get outside and enjoy the warm weather. Give us a call at 252-353-4760 or email PestechOfGreenville@hotmail.com for a free estimate.