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News Filed Under Fire Ants

Fire ant mounds are common along fence lines where they are protected from grass-cutting equipment and other traffic, such as this mound in an Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, pasture on May 11, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
May 19, 2015 - Filed Under: Forages, Insects-Forage Pests, Fire Ants

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.

The biggest reason people have trouble controlling fire ants is that they only treat individual fire ant mounds. Individual mound treatments can be useful situationally, but need to be supplemented with broadcast treatments that will control all fire ants in all areas. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
May 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Insects-Crop Pests, Insects-Forage Pests, Insects, Fire Ants, Insects-Pests

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.

Many dogs spend time outside and often share their play areas with fire ants. When disturbed, the ants sting and deliver venom that can cause severe allergic reactions for some pets and children. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
May 5, 2015 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Fire ants can be more than unwelcome guests in the home lawn; their stings can be dangerous for children and pets who share play areas with the pests.

Fire ant stings are characterized by sharp localized pain, swelling and intense itchiness that is just a short-lived nuisance for most. A raised red bump appears soon after the sting and soon turns into a sterile pustule that resembles a pimple. However, the ants’ venom can cause severe allergic reactions in some people and pets.

Fire ant mounds, such as this one in Clay County, harbor an invasive species that has a negative impact on wildlife, including reptiles, mammals and ground-nesting birds. (Photo by MSU/Blake Layton)
April 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Blake Layton grew up quail hunting in Simpson County and has seen the steady decline of quail as fire ant populations expanded across the state.

Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the farm he grew up on has the same habitat as it did when he was a child, but it has more fire ants and fewer quail and other wildlife species.

Most fire ants found in Mississippi are a hybrid between the red imported fire ant, pictured here, and the black imported fire ant. (Photo by Mississippi Entomological Museum/Joe A. MacGown)
April 24, 2015 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Tell Mississippians that fire ants have completely invaded the state, and they’ll probably shrug and say they already know that. Tell them the pain actually comes from a sting rather than a bite, and they’ll say it still hurts. But tell them how to get rid of the nasty critters, and they’re all ears.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is organizing efforts to help residents Bite Back against fire ants. The solution is a simple two-part attack, but success comes in the long-term follow-through.

Closeup -- The invasive fire ant, known for its reddish color and nasty sting, is a common enemy of most homeowners and gardeners in Mississippi. (Photo courtesy of Marina Denny)
July 3, 2014 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Fire ants are more than aptly named, given the reddish-orange color of their bodies and the painful, burning sting they can give.

Fire ants were unintentionally introduced to the United States from South America. The first documented release of fire ants occurred near Mobile, Alabama around 1918, and by the late 1930s, most of Mississippi had them.

Fire ants are very small and aggressive. When disturbed, they swarm, bite and sting, producing a painful or itchy pustule within hours.

May 24, 2012 - Filed Under: Insects, Fire Ants, Lawn and Garden

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Fire ants are one of the most frustrating insect pests to deal with in Mississippi lawns, but they can be successfully controlled with the correct approach.

“There is a lot of confusion when it comes to treating fire ants, but it is not that complicated,” said Blake Layton, an entomology specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service. “I recommend using what I call the one-two punch.”

Invasions by imported fire ants are painful experiences for commercial agriculture and private individuals across the state. (Photo by Marco Nicovich)
March 6, 2008 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service has launched a one-stop information shop on the MSUcares.com Web site focusing on imported fire ants.

March 30, 2006 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Springtime brings new battles with fire ants to gardeners and homeowners, and choosing the right tool to fight them is a key to winning against these pests.

Blake Layton, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said treating fire ants on a mound-by-mound basis does not work.

“For every large mound you see, there are many smaller ones that you can't see,” Layton said. “Killing only the large mounds removes the competition and allows the smaller ones to grow faster.”

January 22, 2004 - Filed Under: Insects, Fire Ants

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While imported fire ants are a problem across the South, most species of ants are actually beneficial -- helping to aerate soil, disperse plant seeds, control insect pest species, and aiding in the decay process of dead plants and animals.

January 22, 2004 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Imported fire ants are a fact of life for Mississippians and most of their neighbors across the Southeast.

Scientists believe imported fire ants first arrived in the United States during 1918 at the port of Mobile, Ala., as stowaways on a ship from South America. Since then, the invaders have spread across most of the Southeast. Their name comes from the "fiery" sting of their bite.

September 15, 2003 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Just about anyone with a yard knows the frustration of trying to eliminate fire ant colonies, and now is the time of year to fight the battle again.

Making a broadcast application of an effective fire ant bait between Labor Day and first frost is the best way to get rid of existing colonies and prevent many of next spring's mounds.

August 12, 2002 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

By John Hawkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Flies with larvae that burrow into the skulls of their prey may seem like characters in a science-fiction movie, but the phorid fly is actually one of the newest tools being used to counter the spread of imported fire ant populations in the Southeast.

November 13, 2000 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians may be familiar with the results of fire ant bites, but official documentation has not been available until recently.

The Nov. 1 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a photo/essay documenting the "Evolution of the Fire Ant Lesion."

November 13, 2000 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians may be familiar with the results of fire ant bites, but official documentation has not been available until recently.

The Nov. 1 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a photo/essay documenting the "Evolution of the Fire Ant Lesion."

June 21, 1999 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

By Rebekah Ray

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- They are chemists, architects, engineers -- and invaders.

"I don't know of anything that has been such an unstoppable force in the South like fire ants. Not only are they harmful to humans and animals, they are changing our environment," said Dr. David Pettry, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station agronomist. Pettry's research has investigated the impact fire ants are having on the environment.