Red Imported Fire Ants do not carry harmful diseases; however, they are serious pests because they have the potential to cause major social, environmental, and economic impacts. They also cause painful stings. Sugary substances that are left out will attract these insects.

CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Small, polymorphic (different sizes), approximately 1/16 to 1/5 inch long
  • Reddish body with shiny, dark brown abdomen
  • Large eyes and 3 teeth on the front of the head
  • Petiole with 2 nodes
  • No spines on the thorax
  • 10 segmented antennae with 2-segmented club
  • Can be extremely aggressive

PREVENTION OF RED FIRE ANT INFESTATION:

  • Remove food sources by cleaning up spills and crumbs
  • Clean garbage and trash cans on a regular basis with bleach and a water solution
  • Trim trees and shrubs away from building to prevent fire ants from accessing the structure
  • Avoid using organic mulch and opt for stone, gravel, lava or egg rock
  • Remove debris, firewood, and used equipment from exterior of the structure

TREATMENT OF RED FIRE ANT BITES:

  • Elevate the affected area to help minimize swelling
  • Bathe the sting with soap and water to help prevent any infection
  • Place a cool compress or ice pack to the infected area to bring down swelling
  • Apply a hydrocortisone cream to help alleviate pain and itching
  • A blister may also form, but, to avoid infection, do not scratch or pop it