They may be small, but their name, demeanor, and portrayal in adventure movies tell us that fire ants are not to be taken lightly. Unlike other common house-invading ants, fire ants are much more dangerous than the kind that usually crawls around in your kitchen. Knowing the steps you should take to keep them away from your Richardson property is smart for homeowners.
Fire Ants Are More Than A Movie Pest
Despite those hokey scenes of people buried up to their necks near their mounds, fire ants are anything but just a Hollywood problem. They can create mounds in just about any type of soil, though they prefer dry, open spaces that lack shade. Their mounds start underground and then push up through the surface of the soil in irregular, flattened patterns. Once formed, a mound functions like other ant colonies, utilizing a caste system to divide up the tasks of survival. In the case of fire ants, colonies can have one or more reproductive queens and the populations can be very territorial. Key characteristics of fire ant colonies and their members are as follows:
Queens: Much larger than the small ones you’ll see crawling around, queens have oversized rear abdomens. While they are born with wings, they shed them once they’ve mated, then they begin their lives of churning out eggs that hatch into larva.
Workers: The workers in fire ant mounds are female, and they rear the queen’s offspring and forage for food. They also protect the territory with vicious stingers on their back ends.
Males: Fire ant males always have wings and they use them to find and pair off with reproductive females to start new colonies. Colonies frequently migrate from one site to another, meaning a few colonies can quickly grow into a population of millions.
More Dangerous Than Garden Variety Ants
Knowing how they behave might be interesting, but you're probably more concerned with what makes fire ants such dangerous pests. Unlike other ant varieties, which might bite but are mostly harmless, fire ants are vicious and aggressive bugs. While they are called “bites,” fire ants actually have stingers that pack an unpleasant punch and cause sometimes severe pain in humans and animals. If a mound is disturbed, fire ants will swarm to defend their territory and these stings can add up.
How Not To Handle Fire Ants
Fire ant colonies, aside from being dangerous to try and remove on your own, are incredibly difficult to fully eradicate. Ants of all kinds can survive common household means of extermination because if reproductive members of their colony survive, the population can easily be replenished. Fire ants are no different.
There are many unproven and potentially hazardous ways that people try to get rid of fire ants on their property. Do not attempt the following:
Mound-tipping: While their mounds are flat and often not “tippable," people sometimes think that by disruptive the mounds, they can scare off ant colonies or force them to move elsewhere. This almost never works on any kind of ants, and fire ants won’t be forgiving for intruding upon their territory.
Ant traps: These do next to nothing in terms of control. Fire ant colonies can number in the millions, so the hundreds or thousands of ants you might trap in a makeshift or store-bought bug-catch won’t make much of a dent. This is especially ineffective when you consider that queens will simply reproduce more and won’t be affected at all by bug traps.
Improper bait: Ant varieties like different types of bait, and the sugary, sweet-smelling kinds of bait that work on other species likely won’t work on omnivorous fire ants. Buying the wrong kind of bait is a waste of time and money.
Bug Head Pest Control Is On The Job
As with all dangerous pest varieties, it’s best to consult with trained professionals to deal with a fire ant infestation. Whether a colony has taken hold or you’ve just noticed the early signs, quick action is needed and only the experts can address the problem in the most effective and appropriate way.
Don’t risk you or your health. When it comes to fire ants, turn to Bug Head Pest Control for timely and proven ant prevention or removal.