A Guide To Fire Ant Identification & Control

What are fire ants?

Fire ants are a small species of ant. They are dark reddish-brown to black in color. However, these ants are usually identified not by how they look but by their behavior. Fire ants are aggressive and easily agitated. They have strong mandibles that they use to bite and hold onto the skin of their victim. They then use stingers located on their back ends to sting and deliver their powerful venom. Fire ants create distinctive dirt nesting mounds. Their large nests, which can be 2 to 4 feet in size, are flattened and irregular in shape.

fire ants emerging from an anthill outside of a home in memphis tennessee

Are fire ants dangerous?

Fire ants are considered dangerous. These ants have a short fuse and will attack anything they view as a threat. Something as simple as you or your child walking by their nest could trigger an attack. They are an invasive species and can be quite difficult to control and eliminate. Fire ants typically attack in large groups. Their painful stings leave behind raised red welts, which eventually become white pustules.

Fire ant venom is strong enough to cause an allergic response in people and pets, potentially triggering anaphylactic shock. This is especially true in the case of a group attack. In addition, fire ants have the potential to cause damage to farm crops and household plants. They are attracted to electrical equipment, which they will invade and damage. Fire ants mainly live outside but may find their way into homes and other buildings where they can damage things like air conditioners and circuit breakers.

Why do I have a fire ant problem?

Fire ants are attracted to properties that offer a place to nest and that have plentiful food and water sources. The unfortunate truth is that most residential yards offer fire ants a suitable place to nest. Fire ants are also often introduced onto properties on new sod, trees, flowers, and potted plants that have been purchased from nurseries or garden centers. Fire ants are omnivores and feed on items such as vegetables, fruit, meat, insects, and earthworms.

Where will I find fire ants?

Fire ants prefer to build their nests in open, sunny areas and mainly avoid shady, wooded areas. They will also place their nests near foundations, areas of landscaping, or in rotting tree stumps. These ants are most often found living outside, but if they do find their way inside they usually do so through spaces around air conditioning units, cracks in the foundation of homes, or openings underneath doors.

How do I get rid of fire ants?

To rid your Tennessee home or business of invasive and dangerous fire ants, seek the help of an experienced pest control expert. At Mid-South Pest & Termite, our knowledgeable professionals provide effective pest control services using environment-friendly methods. We are committed to our customers and to using advanced solutions to eliminate fire ants and other household pests from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova, Bartlett, Lakeland, and Arlington homes. To learn more about our residential and commercial pest control options, call Mid South Pest & Termite!

How can I prevent fire ants in the future?

Preventing problems with fire ants can be difficult because they are such an invasive species. Their colonies can be large enough to extend across several properties.

A few helpful  prevention tips to protect yourself and your Memphis area property from fire ants include:

  • Place weather stripping around windows and doors.

  • Install door sweeps.

  • Seal spaces around air conditioning units.

  • Keep tight-fitting lids on outdoor trash cans and compost bins.

  • Place garden areas a distance away from the exterior of your home.

If you notice a fire ant mound on your property, stay away from it and immediately call a professional pest control company like Mid-South Pest to eliminate the colony.

 

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