What is the Red Imported Fire Ant?

What is the Red Imported Fire Ant?

Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA) have been around for decades, originally coming from South America and first arriving in the U.S. somewhere between 1933 and 1945. They are commonly found in the southern states ranging from Texas to Florida. These pests can be aggravating and quite painful if they bite. It helps to know when they are most active and how to deal with them.

What Do They Look Like?

Red imported fire ants are similar in appearance to regular black ants but give off a dark reddish-brown color. They measure 1.6mm to 5mm in length.

When Are They Most Active?

Fire ants are known to search for food in warmer temperatures, especially in the range between 72°F and 96°F. They are mostly active during the summer and fall months but can emerge as early as March. Their mounds can be found in yards, stumps, rotting logs, and even around playgrounds. Fire ant mounds can house up to 200,000 individuals and can be up to two feet high and three feet across.

Are They a Threat?

Due to their habitat, they can be a threat to people who enjoy being outside. Although commonly referred to as a bite, they actually sting. Red ants are known to sting humans who disturb a mound. The sting of a red imported fire ant is painful, and the results of the sting are raised welts that can become a white pustule. Often a person will find that they have been stung multiple times by different ants. The biggest threat is if the person has an allergy to insect stings.

If you end up finding these nests or RIFAs roaming in your home, contact a professional local pest control company who can help set up a treatment and control plan for your home. Since RIFAs are known to have a very painful bite, it’s important to remove them as soon as possible.

Digger Bee Mounds vs Fire Ant Mounds

Digger Bee Mounds vs Fire Ant Mounds

If you’ve ever noticed dirt mounds throughout your yard, you might be assuming that they are just ant mounds. But, if you look closer, certain mounds could be home to a completely difference species. Digger bee mounds could easily be confused with ant mounds, but truthfully, the two species couldn’t be more different.

Digger Bees

Digger Bee Mound
Digger bees are ¼ to ½ inch long, and depending on their species can be dark, shiny metallic, often with yellow, white, or rust-colored markings. What’s unique about digger bees from other bees is they tend to build their nest about 6 inches deep under the ground. The adult female digger bees live in these mounds underground while the male digger bees dig to the surface of the soil creating a pathway for the females to emerge during springtime.

Digger bee mounds can usually be found in areas of your yard where the grass is sparse, such as a dry or shady area. They typically build their nests close together, creating a cluster of several small mounds.

Fire Ants

Fire Ant Mound
Fire ants can vary in different sizes but have a dark red body color that can range from reddish brown to reddish black, depending on their species. Fire ants do have a stinger and when used can give off a painful sting.

Fire ant mounds are usually raised where you can easily spot them in your yard. The mounds are also dome-shaped and can range from two- to four-square feet in size. Fire ant colonies can be found to have an average of 80,000 worker ants. They typically like to avoid darkness and shade; therefore, they will build their mounds in sunny areas of yards, rather than in shaded areas.

From above, you can see just how different these two species are and how different their habitat is. While digger bees like to build their mounds underground and in shaded areas, the fire ant can be seen building theirs visibly and in sunny areas of the yard. If you believe you have either of these pests in your yard, it’s best to contact a professional pest control company who can help identify and provide treatment plans.

Imported Red Fire Ants

Imported Red Fire Ants

With the persistent surge of rain in the recent weeks, you might start to notice some unwanted pests arriving in your yard. A particular pest to look out for during this rainy season is the Imported Red Ant. These ants can survive in harsh weather conditions, including floods. The Imported Red Fire Ant or RIFA can not only cause damage to your home but also pose health risks to your family.

These ants are known for their fierce survival methods in harsh conditions. During floods, the RIFA colony can connect to form a ball and float until they reach dry land. When doing this, the RIFAs become hungrier and more aggressive, making them more likely to attack. The RIFA is known to have a painful sting/bite that can be more aggressive than other species of ants. A person is most likely to be stung by multiple RIFAs that causes a raised welt. RIFAs venom is protein based, which can cause a strong allergic reaction.

For homeowners, it’s important to know the places to look to indicate a RIFA nest. Most RIFA nests are located outside in soil or near structural foundations and typically build a dome-shaped mound. These ants can also be found under objects such as stones of the base of a tree. One location that homeowners might not realize RIFAs can invade are HVAC units and electrical boxes. They will usually build their nest right up against them or inside the boxes.

If you end up finding these nests or RIFAs roaming in your home, contact a professional ant control company who can help set up a treatment and control plan for your home. Since RIFAs are known to have a very painful bite, it’s important to remove them as soon as possible.

Avoid Bites and Stings this Summer

Avoid Bites and Stings this Summer

As the weather continues to pull you and your family towards more outdoor activities, the chances of getting bug bites increases. Here are some tips to prevent these bites and stings, and get back to enjoying your summer:

Mosquitoes

  • Use EPA-registered mosquito repellant. Always make sure to follow the precautions and instructions carefully.
  • Since mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, keep pools treated appropriately and keep the water circulating, and reduce or remove any other areas that accumulate water – bird baths, toys, buckets, flower pots, etc.
  • Have your yard sprayed monthly for mosquitoes with professional mosquito control treatments – the best way to reduce mosquitoes and prevent mosquito bites.

Fleas & Ticks

  • Avoid walking through tall grass. Be sure to keep grass cut low during the summer.
  • Treat pets with year-round preventatives to prevent flea and ticks bites and infestations.
  • If walking in wooded areas, wear light-colored clothing, long pants, and closed-toed shoes.

Fire Ants

  • Keep vegetation and trash bins away from your home.
  • If you spot nests in your yard, call your local exterminator to perform an inspection and provide a fire ant control plan, and keep away from mounds – especially young children and pets.

Treating bug bites and stings can put a damper on any outdoor activity. If you have issues with biting/stinging pests, call (866) 616-0862 or request a free pest inspection from your local pest control company.

 

Don't Let Pests Crash Your Summer Party!

Don't Let Pests Crash Your Summer Party!

With the last day of school, graduation ceremonies, and Memorial Day quickly approaching, you’re probably feeling the pressure to get your outdoor area ready for all the festivities. Not only are you concerned about the look of your lawn and impressing your guests, but you also need to know which pests to avoid and, if possible, prevent from ruining your celebration. Here’s your party pest avoidance checklist:

Mosquitoes

mosquitoes
We’d like to be completely rid of mosquitoes forever, but that would be a difficult task! Let’s look at what you can do to reduce their occurrence in and around your home:

  • Eliminate breeding grounds
  • Be cautious of the time of day you plan your festivities; mosquitoes are most active early morning and late afternoon
  • Minimize wearing floral prints and perfumes as they attract more mosquitoes
  • Receive regular mosquito reduction service

Ticks

ticks
We understand the concern that ticks can breed. Take a look at these tips to prevent one of these pests attaching to you:

  • Wear light-colored clothing to help you see if you have picked up any ticks if you live in a wooded area
  • Wearing long-sleeves, pants, and shoes without open toes is suggested if your festivities are in an area with tall grass. Ticks will use the tall grass to attach to you
  • Keep grass cut low and inspect yourself thoroughly after working in the yard

Fleas

fleas
Fleas are typically a nuisance for our furry friends, though they can still cause issues for you too. Here are a few suggestions to keep your home and pets flea-free:

  • Check pets frequently for fleas and flea dust
  • Vacuum carpets, mop floors, and clean furniture regularly
  • Bathe pets frequently and speak with a vet about preventative medicine
  • If you think you have a flea infestation in your home and/or yard, call your exterminator for a free flea treatment quote

Fire Ants

fire ants
Like mosquitoes, fire ants can be an unwanted fixture on your lawn during the warmer months. They leave painful bites and can be an issue for pets and humans alike. To prevent fire ants from ruining your summer fun, try these tips:

  • Avoid all contact with fire ant mounds
  • To stop them from coming into your home, seal any cracks and replace any weather-stripping
  • If you see mounds around your home, call a pest control company to discuss a treatment plan

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