(red imported fire ant)
(black imported fire ant)
Imported fire ants are not native to the United States. They first entered the country around 1918 near Mobile, Alabama, and made their way into southern Mississippi by the 1930s. They have since spread to every corner of every county in the state and through most of the southeastern United States (See Imported Fire Ant Quarantine Map).
Their distinctive dome-shaped mounds are unsightly and interfere with mowing and other activities, but it’s their stings that cause the most problems. Fire ants don’t intentionally go looking for people to attack, but disturb their mound and they will defend it aggressively. Even one sting hurts, and fire ant stings usually come in bunches!
Fire ants thrive in open areas, such as home lawns, sports fields, golf courses, parks, pastures, hay fields, vegetable fields, orchards, and roadsides. When they are not controlled, mound densities can reach 50 to more than 200 mounds per acre. Fortunately, there are effective treatments to control fire ants that are relatively inexpensive and easy to apply, but successful fire ant control has to be a preventive, ongoing effort. Fire ant control recommendations vary slightly, depending on the particular situation. Be sure to choose products that are labeled for the particular site where you plan to apply them.
Where do you need to control fire ants?
Fire Ants in Home Lawns
Fire Ants in Pastures, Hayfields and Barnyards
Fire Ants in Commercial Fruits, Nuts and Vegetables
Fire Ants in Home Vegetable Gardens
Organic Fire Ant Control
Fire Ants in Commercial Turf (golf courses, sports fields, commercial landscapes)
Fire Ants in Commercial Sod and Nursery Stock
Indoor Fire Ant Invasions
Control Fire Ants
Tips on Using Fire Ant Baits Successfully
Fire Ant Facts
Fire Ant Biology
Fire Ant Sting
Ants (Formicidae) of the Southeastern United States (This is a technical site on ant identification, including fire ant species)
Dr. Blake Layton, Extension Entomology Specialist
Department of Entomology, Mississippi State University
Phone: (662) 325-2085
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.
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.
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.
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.