Pests enjoy the summer months almost as much as we do. However, some pests enjoy the warm weather more than others–especially fire ants.
A typical fire ant colony produces large mounds in open areas, and feeds mostly on young plants, seeds, and sometimes crickets. Unlike many other ants, which bite and then spray acid on the wound, fire ants bite only to get a grip and then sting (from the abdomen) and inject a toxic alkaloid venom called solenopsin. For humans, this is a painful sting, a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by fire—hence the name fire ant—and the after effects of the sting can be deadly to sensitive individuals.
Fire ants nest in the soil, often near moist areas, such as river banks, pond shores, watered lawns and highway shoulder. Usually, the nest will not be visible, as it will be built under objects such as timber, logs, rocks, or bricks. If there is no cover for nesting, dome-shaped mounds will be constructed, but these are usually only found in open spaces, such as fields, parks and lawns. These mounds can reach heights of 40 cm (15.7 in), and can also be as deep as five feet.
Click here to learn more about fire ants! And, more importantly, watch where you step!