What Is a Fire Ant? A fire ant is an arthropod that builds its anthills in soft soil. The ants enter their mounds from all sides – unlike other ant species. More than 20 species of fire ants exist in the world.
There are four significant subspecies of native fire ants: native southern fire ants, tropical fire ants, desert fire ants, and tiny fire ants.
During the early 1900s, red fire ants (Solenopsis Invicta) were accidentally imported from South America. Pests like these are spreading like wildfire across Canada and have become common. Some have even displaced the native species.
Tip: If you see a native fire ant mound in your yard, consider leaving it alone if it isn’t causing any problems. If you remove it, you open the door for more aggressive imported fire ants to move in.
What Do Fire Ants Look Like?
Almost all the ants you find around your home or garden look like fire ants. The features that distinguish them are their bright red to black colour and antennae, which have ten segments – nine following the first bend (elbow).
Is It Possible To Spot Native And Imported Fire Ants Differently? Yes! Here is how?
Native Fire Ants:
- The same size
- 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch. Almost 1/4-inch long
- A bright red to black colour
- The mound is between one and two feet high
Imported Fire Ants:
- There are different sizes of workers (polymorphic)
- Compound eyes with red and black pupils
- Bodies with two segments
- Black gaster stinger (bulbous posterior portion)
- Colonies large enough to support 300,000 individuals
- Three feet high and two feet wide is the maximum size of the mound
Fire Ant Signs Around the Home
Mounds are the first sign of fire ants’ presence since their colonies mainly occur outside and underground. Fire ants usually prefer to be outdoors and only come inside when rains have ruined their mound or if they need protection during scorching, dry weather.
The following signs can also identify fire ants:
- After a rain, the soil appears fluffy due to burrowing underground
- The Ant Trail
- Symptoms include itchy, burning, and pus-filled pimples
How To Get Rid of Fire Ants
You can eliminate fire ants’ nests by targeting the mound (nest). You can kill fire ants by saturating their nests with toxic liquid pesticides. The tops of hills and around the yard can also be treated with granular or powdered insecticides.
The following non-chemical solution is suitable for families with kids and pets: Pour 3 to 5 gallons of boiling water into the nest. It will kill the majority of the ants and their queen without putting your health at risk.
If you have any concerns about applying insecticide safely around your family and pets, you should call an ant control professional. Depending on the severity of the infestation, a single treatment can be quite reasonably priced. For a long period of a pest-free home, your best bet is to consider the home protection plan. You can contact us for more details, and we would be happy to assist you.