Indoor Fire Ant Invasions
Fire ants are outdoor, soil-dwelling insects. They rarely invade buildings, but when they do, they usually cause problems.
Indoor fire ant invasions happen for two reasons. The first is when foraging workers wander into a building, find a food source, such as pet food or spilled food crumbs, and recruit other workers to this food source. This results in a trail of workers traveling back and forth from the outside nest to the inside food source and a concentration of ants around the food source.
The second cause of indoor fire ant invasions is when an entire colony of fire ants attempts to relocate because of disturbance by flooding, drought, landscaping or other causes. This is less common, but more distressing. In this case, you usually see large numbers of workers carrying their white brood into the house. They may also bring particles of soil inside. These displaced colonies are usually very agitated and will sting aggressively and in large numbers. They have to be controlled quickly and effectively. See Extension Publication 2443, Control Household Insect Pests, Pages 15-16, for more details on how to control and prevent indoor fire ant invasions.
Contact information for Dr. Blake Layton.
Fire ants are everywhere. If you’ve thrown your hands up in exasperation trying to deal with them, don’t give up just yet. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)
Mississippi has an abundance of bugs, especially in the warmer months. We are all familiar with mosquitoes, bumblebees, and house flies. But I bet there are bugs around your house and yard that you can’t identify. (Photo by Blake Layton)
Just when we think we’ve conquered our tiny foes, it rains, and fresh fire ant mounds pop up in our yard.
Like many tasks around the house, fighting fire ants feels like a constant battle. My husband and I finally started seeing some progress when we followed recommendations from MSU Extension’s expert, Dr. Blake Layton. (Yeah, that’s a side benefit of my job, learning all kinds of practical information!)
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Southern farmers may never win the battle against imported fire ants, but aggressive tactics can slow the pests’ invasion, reduce damage and prevent further spread across the United States.
Jane Parish is an Extension/research professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. She said cattle and hay producers have learned to live with and work around the troublesome ants since the pests arrived in the state almost a century ago.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- People have many misconceptions on how to eliminate fire ant mounds and prevent them from coming back, and these erroneous beliefs hinder efforts to keep the harmful pest from spreading.