Fire ants

Fire ants

Fire ant classification
There are over 280 species of fire ant, all belonging to the genus Solenopsis in the tribe Solenopsidini. All fire ants have a single median seta on the anterior clypeal margin.

Fire ant nest
A typical fire ant nest will consist of a large mound that can be seen in an open area. The nests proceeds down into the soil, and fire ants seem to prefer moist soil. You will often see fire ant nests along river banks and near lake and pond edges. They also appreciate soil that is kept constantly wet by humans, such as watered lawns. A fire ant nest will rarely grow bigger than one square metre and will typically contain several small openings on the surface. Which entrances that are currently used by the ants will vary over time.

Fire ant food
Seeds and young plants make up the staple food for most fire ant species, but they are also known to kill and devour small animals.

Fire ant reproduction
The fire ant colony will produce winged males and females (queens) that swarm, mates and set up new colonies. It is only the fertilized female fire ant that will survive; the males all die shortly after swarming. The females will loose their wings after mating and start looking for a suitable spot to form a new fire ant colony. Several female fire ants will sometimes form a nest together, but after a while only one queen will be left. Within a year, the fire ant queen can have produced thousands of worker ants and established a new fire ant colony. 

Fire ant invasive species
As mentioned above, there are around 280 species of fire ants, all native to their own specific part of the world. Human trade and travel have however made it possible for fire ants to spread to new environments where they become invasive species. In their native region, fire ants are kept under control by parasites and predators that have gradually developed together with the fire ants and are highly skilled when it comes to attacking them. Competition between different types of native ants is also important when it comes to regulating the success of each species. In their native regions, fire ant populations are kept in check by the factors described above and rarely becomes a problem for humans. When fire ants hitchhike with humans and spread to new environments where the local flora and fauna are not accustomed to them, they will sometimes reproduce extremely fast. This is not only a problem for the native eco-system; it is also a problem for humans in the area since an exploding fire ant population increases the risk of fire ant encounters and fire ant bites. 

The Red Imported Fire Ant
The most famous example of a fire ant species that have become an invasive species due to human trade is Solenopsis invicta, the Red imported fire ant. This fire ant is sometimes referred to as “RIFA” and is native to the South American continent. Today, it can however be found in the Philippines, China, eastern Australia and southern United States and is considered a pest in these regions.

Ant Articles:

Carpenter Ants
Carpenter Ant Control
Kill Carpenter Ants
Fire Ant Bite
Kill Fire Ants
Flying Ants
Red Flying Ants
Kill Flying Ants
Types of ant insect


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