After World War II, the spread of these fire ants was largely due to the sale of grass sod and woody ornamental plants used in landscaping. Fire ants include a large group of reddish-brown to black ants that normally spread by one of the following methods: seasonal relocations, migration in nursery stock, natural flights, and after floods rafting on water. Ants can be blown by the wind 12 miles during mating flights. They can “hitchhike” on birds or mass together to form a floating ball to ride out a flood. Fire ant workers are sterile females that range in size from .08” to .2” in length. The larger workers are called majors, the medium sized are called medias and the smallest size are called minors. All of the workers sting and inject a venom that causes blisters and allergic responses, including possible anaphylactic shock. A single fire ant can grab hold with its mandibles and then whip its abdomen down and sting multiple times, injecting the poison each time. They are now found in 11 southeastern states and over 25,000 people a year seek medical attention from fire ant stings. A fire ant mound can be 15" - 24" in diameter and 10" - 18" high and 1' - 3' deep with some tunnels extending 5' or more down to the water table and can contain 80,000 to over 250,000 workers. A.K.A. the six-legged scourge of the South. Note: They are adapting to the cold and coming North.
Fire ants are omnivores and will eat plant and animal material including mice, turtles, snakes, and other vertebrates, crops, plants, saplings, wildflowers, fruit, and grass but prefer insects. U. S. fire ants readily defend their mound. Disturbed or injured workers release alarm pheromones. There are four major species, two native and two imported, found in the U. S. from the Carolinas to California. Mating between the winged forms or alates takes place 300' to 800' in the air, usually in late spring or early summer. The males fly up first and wait for the females, after mating, the males die and the newly mated queens seek moist areas, normally within one mile of the mother colony. If the female lands on a suitable moist site, she removes her wings and digs a small burrow in the soil and then seals it. Within 24 hours the queen begins laying eggs, normally only 10 - 15 in the first cluster. The queen ant can live up to 7 years and will produce up to 1,500 to 1,600 eggs per day throughout her life. Queens are the first to be fed proteins, so any fire ant bait has to be protein-based. Fire ants feed on honeydew, sugars, proteins, oils, seeds, plants and insects. Fire ants frequently enter and nest in houses and are attracted to water and electrical wires and their associated magnetic fields or impulses. They can ruin gas pumps, transformers, traffic lights, air conditioners, heat pumps and other electrical equipment. Locate ant activity inside by watching the ant trail and follow back to the void and treat with ant baits or dusts. They will kill plants by feeding on seeds or by girdling freshly planted nursery stock. Fire ant workers compensate for changing conditions, e.g., temperature and humidity by moving the larvae and queen to suitable locations within the mound. On cool mornings in the summer the queens are near the top of the mounds where it is warmer; as the day heats up the queens go deeper into the soil.
Fireants can't be completely eradicated at this time! So, call today to discuss scheduling, location suitability, and potential group discounts for combined acreage.