You can think of a fire ant nest like a small city full of infrastructure, workers, and a single queen or small group of queens. Fire ants build nests, or mounds, that can vary in size, especially if left undisturbed or untreated. While most mounds only reach a few inches tall, some mounds can reach over a foot in height.
Fire ant mounds are found in grassy areas such as lawns and pastures. Unlike other anthills, fire ant mounds do not contain an opening at the center. Instead, fire ants use underground tunnels to enter and leave the nest. These tunnels can travel 25 feet away from the mound. If you don’t notice any mounds in your yard, that doesn’t necessarily mean fire ants aren’t present. In addition to grassy areas, fire ants can also build nests under buildings or in cracks in the concrete.
If you disturb a fire ant mound, the fire ants will defend it aggressively. Fire ants will pour out of the mound and you will notice hundreds of worker ants scurrying around. Fire ants will defend their nest fiercely because it contains food, eggs, and a queen or queens.
Despite their small size, fire ants are ruthless. Because nests are often found in open areas, fire ants are quick to attack if disturbed. Because hundreds of fire ants are able to swarm their nest in a given moment, they can overwhelm predators easily. While they typically scavenge for plants and insects their own size, fire ants can also attack small animals such as squirrels and mice.
While fire ant bites are painful to everyone, only a small percentage of people are allergic. For those that are allergic, a fire ant sting can be very serious. If you experience excessive swelling or itching, shortness of breath, swelling of the tongue or throat, or hives, you should seek immediate medical attention. Otherwise, you should treat the stings as you would any other insect bite; by keeping it clean and applying an over-the-counter, topical cream.
You will notice a fire ant bite because it will sting.
It is common to receive multiple bites because a single fire ant can sting multiple times.
A small, swollen, red spot will appear on the skin.
A small blister will later develop on top of the spot.
The bite will itch for about a week and will start to go away during this time as well.
You should not pick at the blister or bite as it can cause the area to become infected.
Treating individual mounds can help control fire ant populations, but may not eliminate the entire problem. You should seek the help of a pest expert in order to make sure your entire yard is free from fire ants. Aptive’s dedicated team uses the best, eco-friendly methods to effectively control ants and ensure that your home is protected for the future.