There are few people who don't know what it feels like to be stung by a fire ant. And, yes, we did say stung. A fire ant only bites to get a grip. That painful burning sensation you feel comes from the little stinger on the end of its abdomen. With this stinger, it administers a venom called solenopsin. A sting from one ant isn't dangerous but several stings can kill a small animal. And humans who are allergic to this venom can go into anaphylactic shock. This is a very dangerous condition that can be fatal.
Most people can get away from these ants when they feel that first sting but, for those who can't get away, fire ants present more of a threat. Elderly people, paraplegics, and babies can sustain several wounds before these ants are dealt with. This can lead to multiple bites and a lot of misery, but fire ant stings do not lead to human mortality unless there is an allergic reaction.
Fire ants create mounds above the ground that can be a foot tall and worker ants roam on the top of these mounds. This allows the colony to attack quickly when there is a threat. It is always best to have footwear on when walking in an area where fire ants are known to be.
Another way fire ants can mobilize quickly and administer several bites is when they group together to make a living raft. This occurs when floodwaters rise and drive fire ants out of a colony. If you are going to be walking around in an area that has had recent flooding, keep a close eye out for these larges masses of fire ants floating on the water, or large numbers moving around near the water.
Are you wondering if you have fire ants in your backyard, and would rather not get stung to find out what kind of ants you have? You may be able to tell by looking for these identifying characteristics:
Fire ants are reddish-brown.
They are between ⅛ of an inch and ⅜ of an inch.
They have two nodes between their thorax and abdomen.
If you need assistance with identification, take a picture and send it to a pest control company. Make sure you get up close to take your photo.
Fire Ant Prevention
Steer clear of ant mounds. If you don't stand on mounds, you're less likely to get stung.
If you'll be eating outside, use sprays or bait to keep fire ants from invading.
Keep food and drinks covered while outside. This will prevent the odors from luring fire ants in.
Fire Ant Control
When fire ants start creating mounds in a yard, homeowners often take matters into their own hands. Be aware that fire ants have more than one exit into their tunnels. Any attempts to drown them, boil them with hot water, kill them with vinegar, or wipe them out with toxic liquids, is not likely to work.
It is best to have an educated pest control technician deal with arresting a fire ant infestation in your yard. A technician will know what products will be effective with the specific species of fire ant you have. They will know how to administer the product in a way that will prevent budding. This is a process by which a colony will split into two or more colonies when a threat is perceived. Fire ant colonies are able to do this because they have more than one queen. This can make fire ant elimination a nightmare. Your technician will also apply all products according to strict safety regulations to ensure no harm is done to pets, animals, and other creatures in your yard.
At Innovative, we know how to get rid of fire ants. Our team of professionals use specialized products and state-of-the-art protocols to target and destroy those ants and prevent them from budding and spreading.
If you live in East Texas, schedule a free inspection today. We'll let you know what kind of problem you're dealing with and what is needed to beat those ants back. We can also set up ongoing, seasonal fire ant control so that your yard has the best chance of staying fire ant-free, and a yard that is free of fire ants is a much nicer place to be.