You don’t normally associate fire ants with water and yet the floods that followed hurricane Harvey in Texas shows that they are as comfortable on water as they are on land. The fire ants actually managed to float on the top of the water and reach houses and other places that they would never normally visit.
One thing is certain, if you see fire ants anywhere near your property it’s time to get the pest control experts in; they know how to handle them and eliminate them safely.
Fire Ants Are Dangerous
There are many different species of ants but the fire ant is believed to be the most dangerous; it’s not one you want to find in your home.
- Their bite is extremely painful and stings.
- They are highly intelligent and skilled at surviving. In the floods, they weaved themselves together to form a raft until they reached land again.
- When defensive the amount of venom they can produce is much greater than normal
- They will take refuge on any land until they can rebuild in the soil.
In fact, this is part of the issue. Their ability to survive means they could be brought right to your door. If this is the case the entire colony will be present and without a home; while creating their new home the usual control measures may not work. These ants are dangerous; you’ll have to call your local exterminators to get rid of them properly.
It is worth noting that the fire ant actually feeds on cockroaches, ticks, and other pests; there is some benefit to them being around. However, these are not a pest that you want to bite you.
Identifying Fire Ants
It’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for and what to avoid.
The fire ant is a dark brown/reddish color and approximately ¼ inch long. The queen is larger and can live for 7 years while the worker ants live for approximately 5 weeks. The fire ants build their nests in the soil with a mound over the top. If you kick the mound the fire ants will rush out and sting you.
However, the mounds are usually in open spaces so you can’t do this by accident. If you discover one near your home then you should call pest control experts to deal with the issue for you.
It is worth noting that once a fire ant is on you shaking is not going to help get them off; this will merely make them hold on tighter, potentially stinging you again. Instead pick each one off as calmly as you can, or if they are on your clothing remove your clothing and only replace it when you are certain that the fire ants are all gone.
In general, a fire ant will not attack a human. The exception is if you appear to attack them or if they see you as a useful ladder; an escape root from the storm. In this instance, your leg is as good as anything else, but any movement will encourage them to sting; proceed with caution.