Native Fire Ants

More than one species of fire ant inhabits North America. The most persistent and common of these species is the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta). The red imported fire ant (sometimes referred to as RIFA) has no natural predators in North America and is a resilient fire ant species, capable of surviving dramatic temperature swings and severe weather. They are also capable of physically dominating and displacing other ant species. In order to combat RIFA, humans have developed an extensive arsenal of pesticides, including baits, and have even introduced phorid flies that attack RIFA in South America. These South American flies lay their eggs in living fire ants. When the fly eggs hatch, the larvae eat the ant.

Native Fire Ants
Native Fire Ants

The black fire ant is similar to the red fire ant in habits, and is found in a smaller area between Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Tennessee. The primary distinction, as the name suggests, is the black coloration.

The tropical fire ant or native fire ant (Solenopsis geminata) is native to parts of North America, South America and Central America. They have two color forms: one red and another black.

All three of these species are capable of delivering a painful sting. If fire ants are present, contact a pest control professional.

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