What to Know About Fire Ants
Having an ant problem is bad enough in itself, but no one wants to deal with fire ants in their home. Fire ants are notorious for their sharp stings accompanied by their menacing red color. These tiny insects really pack a punch, causing painful bumps that burn and itch for days. Although they can be beneficial by preying on other pests that we often encounter here in Central FL, having an excess of fire ants in your home or on your property can cause fear of stings and health risks.
Read on to learn more about how to tell apart fire ants vs red ants and why fire ants are dangerous.
How to Identify Fire Ants
Based on their name, it’s easy to assume that any red ant you see is a fire ant. However, not all red-colored ants deliver the stings that fire ants do. Look for these traits to be sure that you are dealing with fire ants:
- Color: Worker fire ants are a smoky, reddish-brown color. Their color darkens from their red thorax to their brown abdomen.
- Size: Fire ants range from 1/8”–1/4” in length. They have a large bulbous abdomen and a thin thorax.
- Distinguishing features: You can identify fire ants by their unique antennae. They are long and thin with a sharp curve about halfway through that leads to segmented ends.
Why Are Fire Ants Dangerous?
Fortunately for us, fire ants like to build their colonies outdoors. That being said, their colonies can grow to huge sizes, even reaching the hundreds of thousands in population, and their workers often spread to areas that people frequent.
Fire ants can be very aggressive when they believe that their nest is under attack. If you get too close to try to identify them, you could easily be snuck up on and stung. Many people confuse fire ant stings with a bite, but what they actually do is latch onto you with their strong mandibles in order to deliver a more solid sting. They inject a venom into your skin that results in painful marks. If you itch these marks, you put yourself at risk of a potential infection.
How to Safely Deal with Fire Ants
If you believe you’ve stumbled upon a fire ant colony in your yard, try not to get too close. You could accidentally bring some into your house or end up being stung by angry workers. Before doing anything else, contact your local pest control company to help you assess the situation. At Heron Home & Outdoor, we train our ant control specialists to use the safest and most effective techniques in the industry to eliminate ant colonies of any species. To learn more about our services or for a free estimate on an ant inspection, contact us today!
What to Know About Fire Ants in Orlando FL and surrounding counties
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