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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.
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.
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.
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.