Fire ants can be more than just a household nuisance. They can also sting, creating pain and even death for some people who are extremely sensitive to the bites. It is vital to control these ants around the home to prevent major infestations, especially in grassy, sunny yards.
The fire ant is quite small, only growing up to five millimeters long. It is distinguished by its reddish-brown color and especially by the nests that it makes. Although fire ants primarily live in the ground, their nests may be noticed as large, sandy mounds above the ground, particularly after the soil has become wet. Up to 500,000 ants may live in one colony. Fire ants can only live in areas that do not freeze in the winter. Therefore, they are primarily found in the southern United States from Florida to California.
A fire ant may bite a human if it feels threatened or if the human comes near the colony. The ant injects a venom called piperidine into the skin via its mandibles. In fact, some people may be bitten by several ants at once because of the great size of so many of these colonies. Bites can be quite warm and itchy and appear as raised red bumps. People who are highly allergic to the venom may experience difficulty breathing and should be transported to a hospital immediately.
These fire ant colonies must be controlled around homes to decrease the incidence of these bites while families and pets are enjoying the outdoors and to prevent the ants from infesting the home. Although homeowners can use basic insecticides, the best way to control these ants is with a professional service. Professionals will inspect the home and yard for signs of infestations and will apply professional-grade chemicals to destroy the colonies.