Fire Ant Identification & Prevention

Fire ants in Florida are pretty much an accepted part of life for everyone who lives here, and Melbourne is no exception, but that doesn't mean you have to take a full-blown infestation lying down.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Fire Ants

What are fire ants?

Red imported fire ants – or simply fire ants – are a type of stinging ant originating in South America. These little red and brown ants were accidentally introduced to the United States in the 1930s, likely as stowaways on cargo ships. Since arriving, they have established themselves all over the warm and humid Southeast, particularly in Florida.

Fire ants build huge nests that can be spotted from quite far away, as these mounds are many times the size of a normal anthill and can often be up to a foot high and a couple of feet in diameter. Their size is how you can distinguish fire ant mounds from other anthills.

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fire ants all over some rice

Are fire ants dangerous?

Fire ants are not particularly dangerous to most people, but while these aggressive little hornets without wings will swarm by the thousands and sting as many times as it takes to get threats away from their nests, the fact that they cannot fly means that they can't chase you very far. And fire ant stings can be painful and itchy, too, but their venom is not typically potent enough to put most people in any danger.

The one exception to this rule is for people who have an allergy to insect venom. If you're allergic to bee stings, then the odds are you're allergic to fire ant stings too, meaning contact with a fire ant nest could land you in the hospital or even the morgue, the same as contact with a bee's nest.

Why do I have a fire ant problem?

Unfortunately, you and everyone else in Florida have a fire ant problem because of our environment. Fire ants evolved to thrive in hot, humid areas with lots of rainfall and few to no hard freezes in the winter. Florida fits this description to a tee, which means any and every home in Florida is susceptible to a fire ant infestation. But don't let this get you down; there are still things you can do to make your home less attractive to fire ants and ants in general.

Where will I find fire ants?

Fire ants are one of the ant species that remain mostly outdoors. Because of the huge mounds they build, it's rare for them to set up shop in your house. But you may see dozens of fire anthills in your yard, especially if fire ants decide your soil is particularly conducive to their huge and complex underground nests.

How do I get rid of fire ants?

Many people try to employ traditional commercial pest control solutions when they have a fire ant problem, such as pouring gasoline or boiling water into fire ant mounds. Don't do this. Gasoline, in particular, can contaminate groundwater and kill the plant life in your yard, and boiling water is typically an ineffective solution for fire ant colonies. Most of the time, the only thing these at-home solutions accomplish is to make fire ants move their mound a few feet away from its original spot.

The easiest and most effective way to get rid of fire ants is to reach out for pest control services in Melbourne, FL, like Southern Home & Outdoor Services. We have the tools and techniques that can actually destroy fire ant mounds instead of just relocating them – and we won't kill your grass or mess up your water supply.

How can I prevent fire ants in the future?

The best way to prevent fire ants from setting up shop in your yard is to employ proven ant prevention methods, such as:

  • Keeping garbage cans covered.
  • Storing pantry foods in airtight containers.
  • Fixing poor drainage and other moisture problems.
  • Ensuring your grass is cut short, and your yard is free of debris.

Following these measures might not entirely deter fire ants, but they will make your yard a less attractive place for them. And, of course, if you wind up with a yard full of fire ant mounds, don't hesitate to call us at Southern Home & Outdoor Services. We can help you keep your yard free of fire ants and your life free of their aggravation.

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