Fire Ant Control

Fire ants are an invasive ant species that have spread across the Carolinas due to favorable weather conditions. These pests pose a threat to your family as they can leave painful bites that sometimes cause severe health complications. Learn how to identify fire ants so you can recognize signs of an infestation and act quickly while taking measures to protect your property from future invasions. 


What Are Fire Ants and How Can I Identify Them?


Fire ants are a reddish-brown color and range in size from 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch. In most cases, you will spot a mound before noticing the ants themselves. A fire ant mound is easily identified as a large mound of soil up to 24 inches high. They are generally found near tree stumps, logs, and even underneath buildings, although the ants tend to prefer open areas exposed to sunlight. 

This species of ant was accidentally brought into the United States in the 1930s via a cargo shipment to Mobile, Alabama from South America. The ants thrived in the warm conditions and colonies quickly spread throughout the south, along with several colonies in parts of California and New Mexico.

Fire ants typically remain outside but can find their way into your home or business through cracks around your doors and windows, or through your building’s air conditioning or heating system. 


What Are the Dangers of Fire Ants?


The sting of fire ants poses a danger to people and pets alike. Fire ant venom can cause serious skin irritation, red bumps, and even scarring. If you are allergic to the venom, more serious health consequences like anaphylactic shock and fatalities are possible. Larger colonies pose a bigger threat since you could potentially receive multiple bites, which increases the amount of venom in your system. 

After a fire ant bite, you may experience itching and burning, followed by a white pustule forming at the location of the bite. These can take a week to heal fully. Scratching at fire ant bites may lead to permanent scarring of the skin. Reduce swelling and itching by applying a cold compress for 20-minute intervals. Hydrocortisone cream can help stop the itching. Over-the-counter antihistamines treat minor reactions, but you should get medical attention for any serious side effects. 

Fire ants also threaten plant and animal life. Animals and birds are susceptible to injury from fire ant bites. These insects can also interfere with the ability to harvest crops due to the threat of harmful stings. Running over large mounds may cause damage to farming equipment. Electrical fires from damaged wires are another potential hazard. 


Why Is Fire Ant Control Necessary in the Carolinas?


Problems with fire ants have increased in frequency and have spread to more than 260 million acres of land in the Southeast. They pose a serious threat to people, pets, and even your property if left unchecked. Regular pest control inspections and treatments go a long way in identifying vulnerabilities and preventing infestations of fire ants and other pests before they begin. 


Prevention and How to Get Rid of Fire Ants


Colonies of fire ants are often large and difficult to control. Ideally, you should focus on preventing infestations. The following tips can help you deter fire ants from making themselves at home on your property:


  • Clean up all trash and keep it in sealed containers
  • Clear away food spills immediately
  • Remove lawn debris like leaves, wood piles, grass clippings, fallen tree fruit, and other refuse. 
  • Keep your trees and shrubs pruned back so branches don’t touch the building
  • Turn mulch around flower beds to discourage nesting and mound-building
  • Inspect your property and seal any cracks, holes, and crevices that could provide an entry point for the ants

While you can reduce the risk of attracting fire ants by employing the above measures, the best methods for prevention and eradication are only available from pest control experts. Dealing with fire ants and their mounds is risky. Always proceed with caution and stay safe by leaving the task to the professionals. 

Fire Ant FAQs

Queens live between two and six years, while workers can live up to six months. It takes an average of three years for a mature colony to develop. 

Fire ants spread during their mating ritual habits. Winged queens can travel up to 12 miles looking for mates. They also sometimes travel to new places after resting on trains, cars, and trucks. 

People with allergies to fire ants can face serious injuries from a fire ant bite. Anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening reaction, is possible in rare cases. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any severe symptoms including difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing, severe swelling, intense itching, nausea, or sweating. Minor reactions are treatable at home with hydrocortisone cream, antibiotic cream, and antihistamines. See a doctor if your fire ant bite doesn’t heal within a week. 

Fire ants originated from Brazil in South America. They are an invasive species introduced to the United States by accident. 

Fire ants differ from other species because they can sting as well as bite. They look different because fire ants have two bumps on the waist section of the body between the thorax and abdomen. These insects are also much more aggressive than other ant species. They tend to swarm if their mound gets disturbed. 

Protect Your Home or Business with the Help of an Expert Fire Ant Exterminator

Keep your home or business safe from a fire ant invasion by investing in professional pest control services. The experts at Clark’s Pest are fully trained to identify pest species, locate colonies and entry points indoors, and then use the latest technologies and treatments to eradicate infestations and safeguard your property from future problems. Contact Clark’s today to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment. 


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