1/15 to ¼-inch.


Dark reddish-brown.

  • Red imported fire ants will build their nest mounds outdoors in landscape areas or near a structural foundation.
  • Occasionally, this species will nest inside homes, hospitals or nursing homes especially in the winter under bathtubs (which often have access to bare soil through the slab, under the tub), next to hot water heaters, or near other sources of warmth. On the upper floors of hospitals or other such buildings.

All ants live in colonies, consisting of an egg-laying female (queen), short-lived males, and workers (sterile females). The ants you see foraging in your garden or kitchen are workers. Workers that find food communicate with other workers by depositing a chemical message on the substrate as they crawl back to the nest. Although we cannot smell it, this "trail pheromone" sticks to the substrate for long periods of time and helps other ants find the food at the end of the trail.

Attacking and killing other insects and small animals or feeding on dead animals. They also feed on honeydew, certain parts of plants or plant secretions, and other sweet materials.

The sting of a red imported fire ant is painful and often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Often, a person stung by a red imported fire ant receives multiple painful stings from more than one of the ants. Persons allergic to insect stings will react more severely.

Fire Ants Prevention Tips

  • Red imported fire ants and their telltale mound nests should be actively avoided.
  • To prevent entry into a structure, seal all internal and external cracks and crevices.
  • To stop the spread of these ants, avoid moving soil, potted plants from your property.
  • Fire ants may also be present in firewood stacks, lumber, tires and many other items that may be stored on your property. Any item infested with these ants should not be moved to other areas.

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