No, fire ants do not go around making things go up in flame or bursting into little, mini bonfires. These ants are given their name because of the burning sensation you are left with from the venom injected into your skin when they sting you and the little, annoyingly itchy bite left behind after.
Fire ants swarm over anything that disturbs their nest, proving painful if you accidentally step on one. They can also cause problems with crops and gardens, buildings, and electrical equipment.
To learn more about American Pest Control’s method for dealing with fire ants, check out our fire ant treatment method.
Now for a little bit about the most common kinds of fire ants in the U.S.:
Southern Fire Ant
Scientific name: Solenopsis xyloni. Indigenous to the United States and found along the southern east coast, along the Gulf coast, and as west as California. The top half (head and thorax) of these ants are usually yellow-red and their bottom halves (abdomen) are black. Either found as a huge mound of ants or, most commonly, under something that functions as shelter: rocks, wood, etc.
Tropical Fire Ant
Scientific name: Solenopsis geminate. Also a native species from the United States, the tropical fire ant is found in the a southeastern region spanning from North Carolina to Texas. Very similar to the southern fire ant, these ants also nest in mounds and under objects like decaying wood and around vegetation.
Red Imported Fire Ants
Scientific name: Solenopsis invicta. Introduced to the United States in the 1930’s from South America via transported shipments, these little invaders like to colonize in open spaces, usually recently cleared land with direct sunlight access. Red imported fire ants also colonize in mounds that can get to be 24 inches wide and 18 inches tall! They also spread and swarm at an extremely rapid rate. You would not want to accidentally disturb one of these ant mounds.