Fire Ants: Public Enemy #1
Texas imported fire ants are aggressive. They cause problems in the home, in your yard, and even endanger local wildlife. Where did these pests come from, and what can you do about it?
Fire ants were accidentally imported in the 1930’s from Brazil. Having no natural enemies here, they have spread quickly across the southern part of the U.S.
In addition to their painful stings, fire ants kill lizards, small birds and even small mammals. They are frequently attracted to electrical wiring and breaker boxes, causing damage and creating a fire hazard. There are many methods for dealing with fire ant mounds, ranging from poisons to phorid flies (which inject eggs into live fire ants). The challenge is that a single acre can hold hundreds of fire ant mounds. Also, even if you managed to clear your property of fire ants, colonies from surrounding areas would quickly move back in.
Fire ants are here to stay, but it is possible to reduce their numbers greatly on your property. See the box ‘How to Kill Fire Ants’ on this page for some ideas.
- Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project – Fire ant information from Texas A&M .
- Taking the Bite out of Fire Ants – University of Texas researchers battle fire ants with phorid flies.
- Wikipedia: Red imported fire ant
- In Texas, Fire Ants Are a Force to Be Reckoned With – Article from the Washington Post.