The red imported fire ant can be a formidable pest. It carries a powerful venom in its painful sting, which sometimes is life-threatening to people and some pets. Since being introduced in the United States in the 1930s, it now infests around 300 million acres, mostly in the south. The annual cost of control and damage to agricultural, recreational, urban and industrial activities as well as to wildlife exceeds $6 billion. This article is all you need to know about fire ants.
Fire ants, especially the red imported fire ant, will defend themselves by biting and stinging if they feel threatened. Their stings can be both painful and dangerous. When these big red ants sense a threat, they may respond by crawling up the victim to investigate. Once the person reacts by brushing them off or something similar, the ants will likely perceive that as a threat and begin to bite and sting the victim. Each fire ant is also capable of stinging multiple times.
Approximately 1 percent of the population is hypersensitive to ant venom, and for some of those individuals, fire ant stings can cause lethal allergic reactions. Victims who are young, elderly or have suppressed immune systems are most likely to experience a severe reaction. Even healthy individuals risk experiencing anaphylactic shock if stung multiple times.
According to the Mayo Clinic, if you experience any of the following symptoms after a fire ant bite, seek immediate treatment. These symptoms may include skin reaction, including hives and itching and flushed or pale skin, low blood pressure, constriction of your airways and a swollen tongue or throat, a weak and rapid pulse, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, or dizziness or fainting.
Avoid coming in contact with fire ants whenever possible. Fire ant mounds can be as large as 2 feet high and are often found in sunny areas of lawns, parks and fields. Mounds may also be found in rotting logs, around stumps and trees and sometimes under houses and other buildings.
There are home products and remedies that claim to help get rid of fire ant mounds, such as pouring boiling water on them. The water flows down through the tunnels, burning the ants and their eggs. While do-it-yourself treatment methods range in efficacy, they all more or less require you to get up close to the ant mound, which can be dangerous, especially when treating multiple mounds. In all but the mildest of fire ant infestations, it is generally better to rely on professional pest control experts.
Further, fire ant colonies recover rapidly from major damage and death. Even with up to 90 percent of the ants killed, a colony can multiply back to full strength quickly, making all of the effort spent trying to get rid of them pointless. After reading all you need to know about fire ants, you may find yourself in need of help getting rid of them. If you want to get rid of fire ant mounds and enjoy your lawn or garden in peace, the skilled pest control team here at TermMax can diagnose your situation accurately and find a long-term control strategy.