Learning About Red Imported Fire Ants In The USA?

Questions from those who are just starting or considering getting into the ant keeping hobby. If you’re intimidated or confused by the in-depth posts of the other sections of this forum, feel free to post here, and we'll start from square one!

Moderator: ooper01

Post Reply
SpeciesK
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:45 am
Location: Right Here--------v

Learning About Red Imported Fire Ants In The USA?

Post: # 16474Post SpeciesK
Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:23 am

BEFORE SOMEONE FREAKS OUT **I AM NOT WITHIN 1000 MILES OF THEM!** Maybe more!
But they are Notorious World Famous Celebrities :twisted: so I am curious about them.
I am trying to learn. I have zero experience with them. I know nothing. All learning is good. :ugeek:
Anyway...

I don't see this information :cry: on any of these:
**Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_imported_fire_ant),
**AntWiki (http://www.antwiki.org/wiki/Solenopsis_invicta)
**USDA APHIS (https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfoc ... _fire_ants)
**Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/plants/weeds ... -fire-ants)

I see pictures of their ant mounds scattered around properties. They are distinct mounds, not very many, I wonder how hard it would be to just dig them up and get rid of them? I realize you couldn't do it in the wild but what about this:
You go to a mound with a shovel and shovel off the mound into Bucket-A and cover it. Then you dig into the ground under the mound for say a foot and put that dirt into Bucket-B and cover it. Does Bucket-A have the Queen? Or does Bucket-B have the Queen? Have you gotten rid of that colony by doing these things? :?:

Martialis
Posts: 1564
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:30 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: Learning About Red Imported Fire Ants In The USA?

Post: # 16488Post Martialis
Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:54 am

Thankfully, RIFA are not in Indiana. We might, however, have the invasive ant Brachyponera chininesis in our southernmost reaches. They are termite specialists.

As I have always given them a wide berth where I've seen them, I don't know too much about RIFA. Literature cam really help, though.
Keeper of

Formica sp.

Tetramorium caespitum

Camponotus chromaiodes

Selliing:

User avatar
MadVampy
Main Forum Admin
Posts: 697
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:19 am
Location: Alabama
Contact:

Re: Learning About Red Imported Fire Ants In The USA?

Post: # 16499Post MadVampy
Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:40 pm

Ok as a keep of Solenopsis Invicta (RIFA or Fire Ants) I can enlighten you a little bit.

#1 They are widespread in the southern part of the USA, mainly due to the fact that they really are not a cold weather ant, they prefer warm areas and the south provides just that and not very long cold times so they really never hibernate they just slow down in the cold.

#2 Getting rid of a mound requires poisoning a very large area around the mound to get rid of them completely. They tend to up an move the colony at the first sight of any real impending danger to the colony. I have seen a front yard littered with 5-10 mounds and after treating the yard the mounds disappeared only to have them pop back up just outside of the area that was treated. They are very fast diggers so they can establish a new mound very quickly.

#3 The Queen can be anywhere in the mound, usually she's kept deep away from danger and safe but just like they bring eggs and larva up to the near surface for the heat of the day she can also migrate up there too during the day. So to answer your question: Should could be in bucket A or B, OR she is still under ground! Fireants tend to dig deep for the moisture that is down deeper.

As far as digging out the mound to get rid of it? it has a less than 5% chance of happening unless you were to remove all the dirt in a 10' or better radius of the mound depending on how big the colony is.

If your looking to get them as pets, wait until nuptial flights. The chances of digging up a mound and getting the queen out without killing her is very slim.

If you're trying to get rid of them, use a broadcast type of poison food (they grab it up and take it back to the nest to consume and share with the others and also the queen. This is about the best way to get rid of them. BUT don't think you've gotten rid of them forever! They like to migrate and also it's not hard for a nest to put out 100+ fertile queens during a nuptial flight! I have seen one nest spread out as far as almost one square acre of land.

Hope some of this info helps in one way or another.
MadVampy

Head Forum Admin
Image
Name is also Mike but please don't confuse me with Mikey Bustos, two different people. :lol:
Keeper of Solenopsis Ants. :twisted:

SpeciesK
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:45 am
Location: Right Here--------v

Re: Learning About Red Imported Fire Ants In The USA?

Post: # 16702Post SpeciesK
Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:42 am

No, I am nowhere near the areas they are found, about a thousand miles, I think. And since I haven't kept any ants before I doubt I could handle taking care of fire ants. :shock: And that doesn't even include getting arrested for bringing the world's most notorious ant invader into a State with zero colonies of them. :o Its too cold here for them in the winter so I don't think that is gonna change. And keeping a pet that causes pustules to form followed by scars doesn't really sound very fun, though possibly interesting. :twisted: Kinda like keeping Measles in a jar, it might be kinda scientifically interesting to look at, but if it gets out it will hurt you and might kill you. :P I'm just curious about them is all.

-Are they the size of Tetramorium E ants? I don't have a clear picture in my mind even how big they are.
-I read somewhere that farmers like them around because they kill other bugs that damage crops. Is that why they are not gone, they are beneficial to farmers?
-With all those States that have them now, don't they prevent people from going camping? I picture people pitching tents on ant mounds and being devoured overnight, with millions of tiny burps overheard.
-Do they kill honeybees?

SpeciesK
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:45 am
Location: Right Here--------v

Re: Learning About Red Imported Fire Ants In The USA?

Post: # 17088Post SpeciesK
Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:30 pm

I have some out of state worker ants in a bottle I got somewhere, maybe fifteen of them. I think they could be fire ants. They are all slightly different sizes, have reddish heads, darkish pointy gasters, and two small roundish things between the second segment and the gaster, and some dirt crumbs from a mound they were from. Someone else, who claims to have seen fire ants, thought they are just normal red ants because fire ants are about a quarter inch long and these aren't that long. I can't help thinking that people might call almost any ant they see a fire ant if its reddish, and bigger ones would be more likely to be called fire ants since they would be more impressive. (Kinda like all snakes are copperheads in the southeast, even though they are garter snakes or just sticks on the ground) I have no way to take a focused picture of something so small, I am just looking at them thru the bottle. I mostly am going by them not being reddish in front and dark behind and the two small things in front of the gaster. They don't seem to act very wacky, although the biggest ones walk around with their mandibles open all the way like they want to bite something. I probably would too if I was trapped in a bottle. :mrgreen:

Martialis
Posts: 1564
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:30 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: Learning About Red Imported Fire Ants In The USA?

Post: # 17089Post Martialis
Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:37 pm

SpeciesK wrote:
Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:30 pm
I have some out of state worker ants in a bottle I got somewhere, maybe fifteen of them. I think they could be fire ants. They are all slightly different sizes, have reddish heads, darkish pointy gasters, and two small roundish things between the second segment and the gaster, and some dirt crumbs from a mound they were from. Someone else, who claims to have seen fire ants, thought they are just normal red ants because fire ants are about a quarter inch long and these aren't that long. I can't help thinking that people might call almost any ant they see a fire ant if its reddish, and bigger ones would be more likely to be called fire ants since they would be more impressive. (Kinda like all snakes are copperheads in the southeast, even though they are garter snakes or just sticks on the ground) I have no way to take a focused picture of something so small, I am just looking at them thru the bottle. I mostly am going by them not being reddish in front and dark behind and the two small things in front of the gaster. They don't seem to act very wacky, although the biggest ones walk around with their mandibles open all the way like they want to bite something. I probably would too if I was trapped in a bottle. :mrgreen:
They're most likely Pogonomyrmex workers.
Keeper of

Formica sp.

Tetramorium caespitum

Camponotus chromaiodes

Selliing:

SpeciesK
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:45 am
Location: Right Here--------v

Re: Learning About Red Imported Fire Ants In The USA?

Post: # 17101Post SpeciesK
Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:22 pm

Well, I don't know. They aren't very big, I think of Harvester Ants as being kinda big bully types. The pics I find of them have the reverse, with a dark head and reddish gaster, but I can't tell if the two things in the middle are round or tubular in harvester ants. But you could have the right ants, these seem calm for a kind of ant that the whole world despises so much. ;)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests