Fire ants reside in colonies, which often can contain more than 100,000 ants. The average lifespan of a worker fire ant is five months, whereas queens can live up to seven years. In a day, queens can lay thousands of eggs, with fire ants going from larva to adulthood in approximately 30 days. When a colony has a well-fed queen and the colony grows rapidly, queens may leave the colony with worker ants to establish new colonies nearby.
About Fire Ants
What do fire ants look like? [fire ant to scale]
Size: 1/4 in.
Color: Reddish-brown to reddish-black
Body structure: Head, thorax, and abdomen with a stinger on end of the abdomen.
What are the habits of fire ants?
Fire ants prefer warm, dry surroundings and are often found in open fields or un-shaded lawns. Fire ant mounds can grow to sizes of more than two feet in diameter and almost a foot high. That said, fire ants may also build shallow mounds within soil or piles of mulch, making the colonies less easy to detect with the naked eye. Fire ants are intensely protective of their queens and will aggressively attack any animal, including humans, who come in the vicinity of a mound. Fire ants attack the invader by first clamping down with their mandibles and then injecting venom via their stingers.
Can I treat fire ants myself?
As noted, fire ants are extremely territorial; they will attack if threatened. Trying to treat a fire ant mound with granular pesticides with a do-it-yourself method not only may be ineffective, but this also puts you in danger of being attacked. If you spot a fire ant mound on your property, the best course of action is to contact a pest control professional who is trained to safely identify, treat and eliminate fire ant colonies.