Fire Ants Facts and Why They Can Cause Severe Trouble
There are several reasons as to why you should seek immediate removal of fire ants from your home. These ants are extremely dangerous and on rare occasions, they have even caused the death of humans.
There are two kinds, namely, the red imported fire ants and the black imported ones. They have extremely large colonies with more than one queen at times. This makes it extremely difficult to control the infestation. How does having more than one queen benefit them?
If a considerable population of these ants has been killed, the queen ants will struggle to produce even more eggs to restore their numbers. Since they are considered dangerous, it might be recommended to consult professionals in the field for this task. The following section tells you a lot of interesting facts about fire ants.
How Were Fire Ants Introduced to the US: A Brief History
Even though these ants are often referred to as “imported”, the usage of the word in this context is completely incorrect because fire ants weren’t brought to the United States intentionally. These ants were actually introduced by means of trade ships that were traveling to Alabama from Southern America.
South America was known as the home of these insects. When fire ants were brought to the United States, two species were introduced and they were called the black fire ants and red fire ants. The black variant of these imported ants was brought into the United States of America during 1918. On the other hand, the red variant was introduced in the year 1930. They quickly spread to areas like Texas, California, Oklahoma and other parts of the US.
What Are The Reasons For Fire Ants Being Attracted To Your House?
It is a known fact that fire ants attack humans and animals alike. Apart from attacking living creatures, they are also known to damage AC units, buildings, telephone wires, and more. They do this because they are attracted to electricity and are often seen nesting in electrical boxes. These ants may often undergo shock that will release pheromones. Once these are released, even more, ants are attracted to the area and the same process takes place again.
They are also often associated with poor levels of hygiene and sanitation. Food spills and remaining drinks are a welcome sign for these tiny ants.
Ensure that your house has a strong foundation and that it hasn’t been built poorly. Fire ants are always looking for a place that has sufficient amount of moisture for them even if it isn’t the sand. To prevent providing them with this, check on any leaky or dripping faucets your house may have.
Fire ants also seek solace in potted plants during the summers. If you are one to move these plants inside and outside then you must be careful as you have given them an extremely easy way to enter your house.
Which Species of Fire Ants Are Capable of Flying?
Fire ants are capable of flight. The species of fire ants which can fly are called alates. These winged females and male fire ants can fly as high as hundreds and thousands of feet. For them to mate while flying, the temperature needs to be specific of 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal conditions for reproduction would be when the climate is humid and sultry with winds as low as possible.
Once the male and female are done mating, the males die while the females will shed or break their wings. Only alates among all other fire ants are capable of reproduction.
Where Is the Fire Ants Habitat?
Imported fire ants usually build a hill or a mound for them to live. These ants are social insects which prefer living in open areas and in colonies where they’re surrounded by more of their kind. They are capable of creating mounds in all kinds of soils but they have a preference for areas to build them in.
Large areas such as meadows, with a good source of sunlight, are the best place to settle for these ants. These mounds are oddly placed on logs that are rotting or around trees and stumps. They do not prefer hot areas to build their mounds.
These mounds are obvious to one’s eye because of their dome-shaped structure and also because of the absence of an exit route on top of the mound. These fire ant mounds are what we refer to as their nests and can be quite deep. They can go as deep as 1.5 feet (nearly 40 centimeters) and the maximum diameter they could possess is 3 feet or 90 centimeters. The mounds are creatively built and have interconnected galleries that may run 90 centimeters deep.
The Life Span of Fire Ants and What Does It Depend on
Fire ants have differently expected lifespans for different classes of ants. The worker class of fire ants has their lives dependent on their sizes. Workers that are minors usually live for a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 60 days. On the other hand, media workers are capable of living for 60-90 days and majors can live for 90-180 days. The longest lifespan is that of queen fire ants who can survive for a good 2-6 years! They take around 22 to 38 days to complete their life cycle, that is, from the stage of an egg to that of an adult.
The Reproductive Power of A Queen Ant
There are several fire ant colonies with queens that are fertile. These queens not only act as leaders but also provide eggs. These queen ants can lay up to 1000 eggs per day which is an enormous number. These queen ants lay these number of eggs every day and live up to a maximum of 6 to 7 years.
In What Situations Can Fire Ants Be Fatal?
Fire ants are known to attack tiny animals and human beings. They are capable of killing these animals. Most ants sting others and then make sure to spray some acid on the wound. However, fire ants will bite you to get a grip to sting you using their abdomen. They do this to inject dangerous alkaloid venom named solenopsin.
This will hurt a lot and in case of small animals, it can even kill them. Fire ants are well capable of killing small kittens which is why you should be on a lookout for any potential nesting your house may have provided them.
There has been news stating that fire ants can definitely kill you so you should always maintain a distance from their mounds. These deaths are usually a result of a reaction to the sting or bite of the fire ants.
These ants have proven to be tough to handle in a number of instances. You must be on the lookout for their nests in your lawns or near dripping faucets to take preventive actions. Recognize the species and inform pest control.
Their large numbers are their strength and therefore it is not practical to try and deal with them on your own. Maintain reasonable amounts of caution if you do spot them and protect your pet animals from these fire ants to avoid fatalities.