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March 30, 2010

Fire Ants

Fire ants live in fields, woodlands, open areas, and in dry-to-moist soil. Their range extends from Florida and Gulf states to the Pacific Coast, north to British Columbia. Other members of this common genus are found throughout North America but the range of individual species is more restricted.
Reports of devastating battalions of fire ants are well known in the South and Southwest. Although these ants often damage young plants, they rarely destroy established crops. Some people even consider this species a beneficial predator of insect pests.

The fire ant society contains 2 or more worker castes of different sizes between 1/16" and 1/4". Their coloring is usually a dull yellow to red or black, they have large heads and incurved jaws that usually lack teeth. Their body contains a 2-segmented "waist" (pedicel) between thorax and abdomen, and fine hair mostly on the head and abdomen, and long legs.

Their food consists of other insects, seeds, poultry, fruits, honeydew, vegetables, and flowers. Females excavate nests close to shrubs for protection from burrowing ant-eating animals, spreading large mounds of waste earth. Sometimes nests are built in rotting logs or under stones.

Warning! Stings from fire ant produce a painful, burning sensation.
Dave's Pest Control Central MAhttp://www.davespestcontrol.net

Photo sources: http://fireant.tamu.edu/img/ants/img0018_med.jpg

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