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Residential Solutions

Red Imported Fire

Solenopsis invicta
  • Characteristics
  • Habitat
  • Tips for Control
  • Pest Impact
They are tiny but extremely aggressive ants. When provoked they come out in large numbers where they bite repeatedly and inject venomous compound on the assailant. This produces blisters and even allergic reactions.
They live in colonies of up to 500,000 ants or more. The workers are responsible for looking for food, protecting the colony and raising the young ones.
Winged males and females fly during spring and summer to mate and establish new colonies.
Red imported fire ants can be differentiated by their colony behaviors. If the mound is disturbed and half the insects are large and dark, they are red imported fire ants. If only a few large ants appear, it is another species of red fire ants. 
Size : 1/8 inches to 3/8 inches
Shape : Segmented, Oval
Color : Dark Reddish Brown   
Legs: 6
Wings : Varies
Antenna : Yes
Common Name : Red Imported Fire
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Arthropoda   
Class : Insecta
Order : Hymenoptera
Family : Formicidae
Species : Solenopsis invicta
They feed on both animals and plant matter. They prefer food with high content protein.
They build their colonies on lawns, gardens, public parks and school playing grounds. They prefer to build in open sunny areas where the soil has been irrigated or slightly disturbed.
Their mounds have a fresh tilled appearance especially after rain and may reach up to 24 inches tall without a common entrance. Other non Red Imported Fire Ants mounds donít exceed 2 inches in height.

Once these pests are established they become very difficult to control. It is important that you call insect experts to exterminate them due to their complex colony habits.
Seal all the holes within the home that the insects can use to access the house.
Keep away stacks of firewood that they can use to build nests.
The red imported antsí colonies are very destructive and leave a trail of damage on their pathways. They will attack any living creature from domestic animals to wild animals. They attack the young of birds and reptiles.
Their stings are obnoxious due to the high concentration of venom that it produces. It causes intense itching, followed by whitish blisters. If broken can lead to secondary infections. Allergic individuals can suffer from anaphalytic shock or even death.
They also damage agricultural crops, livestock plus equipment like air conditioners, airport landing lights, water wells.
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