Fire Ants are one of the 285 species of Fire Ants. The common Fire ants are the tropical fire ants, red ants and the ginger ants.
Fire ants can be distinguished from the other ants by their copper brown head and body with a darker abdomen. A typical fire ant colony produces large mounds in open ares. These ants feed mostly on young plants, seeds and crickets. Fire ants often attack small animals and kill them.
Other types of ants bite and spray acid on the wound but fire ants bite only to grip and then sting from the abdomen and inject a toxic alkaloid venom into the victim. Fire ants bite humans and the sting can be very painful. The sting sensation is similar to being burned by fire and that is how it got its name Fire ants. The after effect of the sting can be deadly to some sensitive people. The venom is both insecticidal and antibiotic.
Fire ants habitat is mainly in the soil, near moist areas like river banks, ponds, shores, watered lawn and highway shoulders. Fire ants nest is usually not visible because it is built under objects like timber logs, rocks and bricks. In open areas like fields, parks and lawns, their nest is built in a dome shaped mounds. Colonies are founded by small groups of queens ant or single queens ant.
The colony can expand to thousands of individuals ants even when there is only one surviving queen ant.
Fire ants are invasive pests and can cause damage to agricultural assets, livestock loss and crop loss. People living in fire ant infested areas are stung each year.
Some people are allergic to the venom of Fire ants and will require emergency treatment. The sting swells into a bump which can be irritating and painful especially when several stings are in the same area of the skin. Scratching the bumps can become infection and result in scarring. It is advisable to seek treatment immediately if you have a brief contact with a fire ant colony. The numerous bites will be so intensely painful.