Two species of fire ants are found in Florida. Most notorious is the red imported fire ant, followed by the less infamous. Red Imported Fire Ant is native to Central and South America. Fire ants frequently invade homes, school yards, playgrounds, lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, parks and many other recreational areas.
Red Imported Fire Ant & Native Fire Ant Control In South Florida
These fire ants are very aggressive; when and red imported fire ant mound is disturbed the ants will come out with aggression to bite and sting the trespasser. Fire ant bites can cause painful or pus-filled lesions hives and lesions that will burn and itch.
The lifespan of fire ant workers will depend on their size.
Minor workers can live 30 to 60 days, median workers may live 60 to 90 days, major workers live between 90 to 180 days, and the queens may live 2 to 6 years.
When a colony reaches 1 year of age, reproductive ants with wings are produced. After the mating flights occur, it is very common to find recently mated queens gathered together under a shelter. This congregation and cooperation of mated queens’ aids in establishing the colony.
But as the colony continues to grow all be killed but one queen, except in multi queen colonies.
When the first batch of workers matures the recently mated queen will stop laying eggs. Within 1 month the mound is growing in size and the larger workers are being produced. A mature colony can contain as many as 240,000 workers and a typical colony can have 80,000 workers.
Feeding and Foraging Habits
Larvae secrete digestive enzymes that will break down solid food and regurgitate it back to worker ants a process known as trophallaxis. The queen is fed mostly digested protein to help support in egg production.
A multiple queen colony will differ from a single queen colony.
The mounds are more numerous per acre of land because they are closer together, the colony has fewer major workers present and smaller workers, workers of one colony are not aggressive toward the neighboring colony, the queen produces fewer eggs than in single queens colonies and weighs less.
in a multiple queen colony, the number of eggs produced is higher than in single queen colonies due to the presence of multiple queens producing eggs at the same time.
Red imported fire ants have been observed to reduce populations of rodents in the ground. Individual
Fire Ant Mound Treatments
There are many approaches can be taken to control imported fire ant mounds. Single mound treatment with granular baits his method is more effective but slower acting, the workers will feed the bait to the queen and brood and wipe out the colony with the least amount of chemical and toxicity.