Fire Ants: Florida’s Red Menace

Fire ants, often called “red imported fire ants” originate from Brazil and it is believed they were introduced to the United States around 1940 via shipping containers. Because these pests can pose a serious threat, it’s important to know how to recognize them as well as how to stay safe from their painful stings. Learn more with the ant control experts right here at Florida Pest Control!

Are There Fire Ants in Florida?

Yes, there are fire ants in Florida. Fire ants’ range stretches across most of the southeastern United States.

Are Fire Ants Dangerous?

These small, yet powerful, insects bite and sting approximately 14 million people each year. For most people, fire ant bites are not a big deal. They will hurt but you are unlikely to need medical attention. However, for those hypersensitive to bug stings, the venom from these ants can be life-threatening. Additionally, getting large numbers of bites can be highly dangerous to people. If you’re ever attacked by fire ants and start feeling tightness in your chest, difficulty breathing, or onset of an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical care.

What Do Fire Ants Look Like?

Fire ants measure from 1/8 – ¼” and are a dull red color. Fire ants are most known for their stinger, which in accordance with their aggressive nature, can lead to bad encounters. Fire ants are best recognized by two bumps that they have between the abdomen and thorax.

The easiest way to identify fire ants is through their mounds. These mounds range in size—some are small bumps, others can be up to 18 inches high. If you run into a fire ant mound, it won’t feature an opening on the top like other ant mounds. A mound that is about 7 inches high can house over 200,000 ants, which is precisely why these ants pose such a huge threat.

Fire ant infographic in Florida - Florida Pest Control

5 Facts About Fire Ants

Fire ants differ from your typical house ant in a number of ways. The most important things to know about these potentially dangerous pests include:

  • If a fire ant mound is disturbed, they will attack as one unit. When disturbed, the ants will begin spilling out ready to attack—and each ant will sting repeatedly.
  • To begin a fire ant colony, queen fire ants mate with males, killing the male in the process, and fly to the site at which she’ll begin the new colony. The queen will lay up to 800 eggs per day, growing the colony to an average size of 100,000 to 500,000 ants.
  • Fire ants don’t bite—they sting! Their stings can result in a burning sensation, hence their name. The sting site may swell and itch. A small pustule sometimes develops where the stinger enters the skin.
  • If fire ants get on you, it’s important to quickly and repeatedly brush them off your skin. The ants can latch on tight, meaning shaking won’t repel them. If you develop symptoms from fire ants, it’s important to seek medical attention.
  • Fire ants typically nest outdoors in open areas. Parks and fields are usually primary targets, but yards can be as well. The mounds are often found lining your grass and concrete, and they typically form on humid days.

Fire Ant Control in Florida

Trying to get rid of a fire ant mound yourself is dangerous. Their colonies extend far under the ground and feature multiple queens. If you have noticed a fire ant mound grow in your yard, the safest and most effective solution is contacting your local ant control experts to get rid of them.

Fire Ants in Florida: What You Need to Know Serving Central FL, Northern FL and the Panhandle

Gainesville | St. Augustine | Ocala | Crystal River | Palatka | Starke | Lake City | Jacksonville West | Jacksonville South

Tallahassee | Ft. Walton Beach | Pensacola | Panama City | Milton | Daytona Beach | Winter Haven | Orlando | Kissimmee | Tampa | Leesburg

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