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Little Fire Ant Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from little fire ants by learning techniques for identification and control.

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Wasmannia auropunctata
1.5 mm workers
4 mm queens
Light to golden brown


How do I get rid of little fire ants?

What You Can Do

Keeping the inside of your home free of foods that attract little fire ants can go a long way towards helping prevent or reduce these ants.

What Orkin Does

Targeting these ant nests with insecticides and using baits can be effective as well as using dust or aerosol insecticides on infested structure voids. Always consult your pest professionals before using chemicals.

Your pest management professional will explain the following prevention practices: To prevent these insects from your home or yard, remove grass and mulch away from driveways, foundations, and sidewalks. Homeowners should also inspect and remove items that attract these insects such as:

  • Firewood

  • Landscape timbers

  • Piles of wood

  • Stones

Your local Orkin Pro is trained to help manage little fire ants and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin Pro will design a unique ant treatment program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep little fire ants in their place and out of your home or business.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Little Fire Ants


  • Size: These workers are very small at only about 1.5 mm long, while the queens are about 4 mm long.

  • Color: Little fire ant workers are light to golden brown in color. Their queens are very similar in color.

  • Characteristics: These insects are part of the tramp ant group. They are invasive species that are able to survive in moist and dry new environments that have an absence of their natural enemies.


Little fire ant workers are very slow moving unlike most other kinds of ants. In fact, at times they move so slowly that they are not observed until someone becomes the victim of their very painful, burning sting.

Unlike other fire ants, these insects are not likely to defend themselves in a large, stinging swarm. They are less aggressive and will sting only when pressed upon by an unsuspecting person or animal. In general, if someone is being stung, but no ants are seen, little fire ants are often the cause.

These insects are part of the tramp ant group. They are invasive species that are able to survive in moist and dry new environments that have an absence of their natural enemies.


In search of food, little fire ants trail along sidewalks and foundations up around buildings. These insects feed on the following:

  • Honeydew from aphids and scales.

  • Peanut butter or other oily foods.

  • Protein from dead and living arthropods.


Several queens and large numbers of workers, pupae, larvae, and eggs make up a little fire ant nest, which can often be found in places such as:

  • Beneath forest floor debris

  • Furniture

  • Greenhouses

  • Palms or palmettos plant sheaths

  • Pantries

  • Tree crotches

  • Under flower pots

  • Walls

Geographic Range

Little fire ants are established in southeastern states and the island of Hawaii, plus they have been reported in Los Angeles county, California.


Little fire ants benefit from both asexual and sexual reproduction, and colonies usually have multiple queens. Most new colonies are formed by budding. This process is when a fertile queen and a group of workers will leave the established colony to form a new colony.

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