There’s no question that fire ants are a problem in the south. The invasive species costs Texas more than $1 billion in damage a year, according to a recent Texas A&M University study. Fire ants can cause damage to electrical equipment, harm birds and livestock, and they are very aggressive when disturbed. Fire ant bites can be painful and for some the bites can lead to an allergic reaction.
Fire ant mounds can appear after periods of heavy rainfall as Texas and much of the south recently experienced. While the mounds may be the first sign of fire ants, the ants lived down in the soil before the rain. Extended periods of rain or downpours fill their underground tunnels with water and force the ants to build the mounds above ground.
Identifying Fire Ants
Once a mound is discovered, it is important to know specifically what type of ants live in the mound. Each type of ant requires a unique method of pest control for the most effective result.
Fire ants are rust colored and range in hue from lighter reds to darker browns. Worker fire ants can be as small as 1/16 of an inch up to ¼ of an inch. They prefer dry fields and sunny areas where the ground is frequently churned since they use the churned material to build their dome-shaped mounds. If the mound is left untreated, it can grow up to 24 inches in diameter and 18 inches tall. These colonies can contain between 100,000 and 500,000 worker ants and up to 60 queen ants.
A bite and sting from a fire ant gives them their common name. A bite can feel like you have been burned. The fire ant bites and then it moves its stinger into the skin. The result is a red bump on the skin and if no treatment is administered, the bump can turn into a white pustule that carries a risk of infection. An infected pustule can leave a scar.
The key to preventing a fire ant bite is to eliminate a fire ant colony as soon as it is discovered. Contact our team of experts at Pest Management, Inc. who understand the cause of a fire ant infestation plus the method that will result in the fastest removal of the problem.