Black Fire Ants

Black imported fire ants (Solenopsis richteri) were accidentally imported to North America. Black imported fire ants (BIFA) are nearly identical in habits to red imported fire ants (RIFA). The easiest way to distinguish BIFA from RIFA is coloration. BIFA are dark brown to black whereas RIFA are predominately red with a black abdomen.

BIFA are believed to have originated in Argentina and Uruguay, in contrast to RIFA, which have been linked to Brazil for their point of origin. After introduction to the United States, BIFA remain limited to a smaller region, consisting of Mississippi, Alabama and part of Tennessee.

BIFA live in mound-based colonies. BIFA mounds can grow to be as large as two feet in diameter. Like RIFA, BIFA colonies can house multiple queens. Forager ants are most active during the sunniest, hottest hours of the day.

BIFA have a venomous sting which often creates a red welt. These bites turn into painful white pustules. If a sting victim experiences severe headaches or nausea following a fire ant bite, seek professional treatment immediately. A small percentage of the population is allergic to the venom in the sting.

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