Ants are small and seem insignificant. However, not all ants are miniscule and harmless. Fire ants can sting you and leave you with a bump that will hurt for a while. So how can we avoid, treat, and get rid of fire ants? Let's find out.
What Do Fire Ants Look Like?
Color: Reddish brown
Body: Divided into three sections: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen.
Size: 2-6 mm
What Should I Know About Fire Ants?
Fire ants are an invasive species that were accidentally imported to North America on a cargo boat from South America. They arrived in Alabama, and have spread quickly throughout the South and Southeast. It is rare to find fire ants in the northern states because the temperature is too cold for the ants to survive in the winters.
Fire ants typically live in mounds they build in open areas. Fire ants usually live in colonies with hundreds of thousands of ants. A typical fire ant colony consists of thousands of female worker ants and one queen. Male fire ants spend most of their time airborne, looking for a queen to mate with. The male will die soon after the mating ritual is complete, and the queen will look for a place to begin her colony.
Fire ants mostly consume young plants, seeds, and are highly attracted to foods high in fat. However, they are stronger and tougher than they look. There is power in numbers. They have also been known to group up and attack small animals to kill them.
How Can They Harm Me?
The leading belief in most people's minds is that fire ants bite you to harm you. It is true that fire ants can bite, however that is not what harms you. They can bite things to hold on, or attach themselves to something, but the pain comes from their stinger.
The stinger of the fire ant is located on the abdomen. When fire ants sting, they inject a venom called solenopsin. This sting is often painful and will result in a red bump with a white head. Since the stinging process does not harm the ants, it is common for one ant to sting you multiple times.
How Do I Treat The Sting?
If you've been stung by one or multiple fire ants, you probably have a painful sting, or stings, that is resulting in a blister. Depending on your allergies, your reactions may be more or less severe. The blisters will likely go away on their own, but if you would like to treat them and stop some pain, here are a few quick tips to try:
Â· Ice the sting with an ice pack on and off for 15 minutes.
Â· Raise the stung part of the body to reduce swelling.
Â· Use a hydrocortisone cream to reduce itching.
Â· If you believe you may be having an allergic reaction, visit your doctor.
How Can I Get Rid of Them?
Having an encounter with a fire ant colony definitely sounds like something you want to avoid. The easiest way to prevent getting stung is to avoid any noticeable fire ant mounds, and to wear protective clothing. To prevent them from getting into your home, or other structures, be sure that your home or structure is sealed up so there are no cracks or crevices that the fire ants could enter through.
It is one thing to avoid them, but how do you get rid of them? If you think you may have a serious infestation or problem with fire ants try mixing some insecticide in water and pouring it directly into the mound. If your DIY treatment is not working, or your problem is out of your control, call a pest control professional.
Breda Pest Management has been servicing the Southeast since 1975, and we know what it takes to treat your pest problems. We use the latest and greatest technology to make sure our services are effective and time efficient. To schedule a service, request a free consultation or call us at (770) 466-6700.