Fire Ant Facts & Information
Protect your home or business from fire ants by learning techniques for identification and control.
Types of Fire Ants
What do fire ants look like?
Fire ants are reddish in color and about 1.6 to 5 mm in length. Read more about identification of fire ants.
How do I get rid of fire ants?
What Orkin Does
Fire ants are difficult to control for several reasons: the colonies are often very large and extend under the ground a great distance. Colonies often have multiple queens, so they can recover if a part of the colony and a queen or two have been killed, and they often occur in large numbers, so that when you have eliminated one colony another will likely move in to occupy the space.
Because fire ants can be sometimes a danger to humans and pets, it is a good idea to consult with professionals regarding ways to control them. Call your local Orkin Branch office to set up an inspection of your property. A highly trained Orkin Pest Specialist will come to your home and conduct a thorough inspection inside and outside. The Orkin Specialist will develop a customized ant treatment plan backed by science that best meets your needs.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Understanding Fire Ants
Typically nest in the ground. At times, nests may appear as visible mounds of 61 cm in diameter and about 18 cm high. Large colonies can have up to 250,000 workers. Very active and aggressive, they will sting any intruding animal repeatedly.
Fire ants are omnivorous. Known to eat meats, greasy and sweet materials. Fire ants are omnivores, meaning they will feed on animal or vegetable sources of food. The fire ant worker’s diet includes insects, earthworms, ticks, spiders, arthropod eggs, honeydew and other sweets. Plant sources of food include seeds. Young and newborn vertebrate animals eaten by fire ants include birds, rodents and calves. Generally, fire ants readily consume carrion (dead animals) regardless of whether the fire ants themselves caused the animal to die. Fire ant larvae are fed by the worker adults and eat only a liquid diet until their third larval instar is complete. Fourth instar larvae are capable of digesting solid foods.
Total time from egg to adult averages 30 days; workers may live up to 180 days; queens live two to six years.
Though not a native species in North America, the red imported fire ant has become a common nuisance throughout the southern United States, ranging from Florida to California and as far north as Oklahoma and Virginia. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsisinvicta) was accidentally brought into the United States in the 1930s via a shipment of cargo. Initially transplanted into Alabama, they have spread and thrived throughout the southern states with the warm climate and lack of predators.
Fire ants been known to remove rubber insulation from telephone wires; sting is painful and can kill young wildlife.
Red Imported Fire Ants
Dig Deeper on Fire Ants
Fire Ants & Humans
Biology & Habitat
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