Are There Fire Ants in Colorado?

Fire ants are a menace everywhere they live. They’re amazing creatures, but it’s good to have them far away, where it’s very warm.

Are there Fire Ants in Colorado?

Yes, it is possible to find fire ants in Colorado, they have become invasive. They’re by no means the most common species of ant in Colorado, but they have taken up residence.

Here are the details on fire ants in Colorado.

Are There Fire Ants in Colorado?

Yes, you can find fire ants throughout Colorado. The red harvester ant (a type of fire ant) is commonly found beyond Colorado Springs, and throughout southeastern Colorado.

The following are some of the most common locations you might find fire ants:

  • On open lawns
  • Beneath stones, boards, or slabs 
  • Close to foundation walls 
  • Behind the walls of houses
  • In rotting wood 

Here’s what we know about fire ants:

  • Some of those nests persist for a long time, while others are more transient. 
  • Out of the over 50 ant species known to infiltrate homes across the United States, fire ants are one species that made their way to Colorado. 
  • Despite their tiny size, fire ants are ferocious and cause considerable discomfort. 

What Makes Fire Ants Dangerous?

fire ants

Fire ants are more hazardous than other types of ants.

One of the main reasons is that fire ant victims are stung more than once. Around the affected parts, this can cause patches of discolored raised welts that hurt. An allergic person may experience a more severe reaction if they are stung by a fire ant (I know — I’m allergic!).

Should you experience that, speak with your doctor to ensure you are aware of your risk, and keep an EpiPen around.

Additionally, infections caused by itchy bites are the primary issue of fire ant bites. Use hydrocortisone cream to soothe the itching and a cold compress on fresh welts to reduce the chance of infection after being bitten.

How To Identify a Fire Ant’s Nest

The size of the colony affects the size of the ant nest. There are colonies with only a few hundred ants and colonies with millions of ants. According to Guinness World Records, the largest ant colony was discovered in Northern Italy.

It extends 3,700 miles from northern Italy to Spain’s Atlantic coast through the south of France. 

The colony also included a species of ants (Linepithema Humile) brought to Europe about 80 years ago.

The composition of a nest includes:

  1. Queen. The colony’s largest ant is the queen. She lays eggs for reproduction and continuation of the entire colony.
  2. Workers. The colony’s entire workforce comprises infertile females. They create the nest, gather food, and care for the offspring.
  3. Males. The male ants’ main purpose is to mate with the queen. They die after mating.
  4. Soldiers. The troops with powerful jaws defend the colony from potential threats.

Symptoms of a Fire Ant Bite

The following will be handy and resourceful to ensure that your symptoms or those of victims match those of a fire ant bite:

  • Pimples. Within 24 hours, almost 100% of sting sites develop pimples and bumps filled with yellow fluid. These zits are nearly a definite sign of fire ant stings. They itch significantly. After three days, they open on their own and then finish drying. They occasionally last for as long as a week.
  • Pain. Usually, the area of pain and burning lasts for ten minutes. The discomfort is considerably less than a bee sting.
  • Hive. Within 30 minutes, a hive-like lump appears at the sting site (100%.) It presents as a raised red spot with a white center.
  • Itching. Following the discomfort, itching might continue for weeks.
  • Swelling. After the sting’s venom has entered your body, normal swelling might worsen for up to 24 hours. The area around the eye can swell severely due to upper face stings. 
  • Extreme Swelling. Fire ant bites can result in significant edema. Steroids are useful when the edema is severe enough to impede function. Future stings from these do not raise the chance of an allergic reaction.
  • Redness. Stings may turn red. That is typical. That does not imply that they are sick. Stings rarely become infected.

The symptoms of a life-threatening allergic reaction, also referred to as anaphylaxis, include difficulty in breathing and swallowing. Within two hours of the sting, it begins. One to two percent of children experience this serious response to fire ant stings.

Some children only experience facial swelling or widespread hives after being stung by fire ants. On their own, hives or facial swelling could be treatable at home. Because anaphylaxis can result from these symptoms, ensure you contact a doctor immediately for advice.

You can try using something like Afterbite to soothe a fire ant sting, but it’s only going to do so much.

What Causes Fire Ant Sting Reactions?

A fire ant uses its jaws to latch onto skin and then rotates its body. Its back stinger stings several times.

When that happens, the ant’s stinger injects venom into the skin.

All the symptoms a victim will experience after that result from the venom.

Other Types of Ants in Colorado

1. Argentine Ants

Argentine Ant Image from Wikipedia

The Argentine Ant is a light to dark brown pest. It is relatively small and with one node on its pedicel (workers are around 2.5 mm long, and the queen is about twice that size).

2. Pharaoh Ants

Pharoah Ant Image from University of Florida

Pharaoh ants are tiny; their workers measure just 1/16 inch in length. Their color ranges from pale brown to yellow. Because they have a three-segmented club at the end of the antenna, they can be identified as thief ants.

Because the Pharaoh Ant is so tiny, the entire colony can fit within a light switch box on the wall, beneath a wet mop in a broom closet, or under a wet mop.

3. Acrobat Ants

Acrobat Ant Image from ©David Cappaert

The name “acrobat ant” refers to this species’ propensity to raise its abdomen above its head, especially when startled. The abdomen is heart-shaped when seen from above.

The majority of species are no longer than 1/8″. Additionally, many emit a foul smell when disturbed.

How to Control Fire Ants

While most solutions concentrate on reducing the possibility of ants entering your home, others focus on limiting the resources that ants can access. Common suggestions from both methods include the following initiatives:

  1. Rinse dinnerware and wash dishes daily to reduce the amount of food available.
  2. Remove waste mounds, boards, rocks, and other outside nesting places surrounding the house.
  3. Cracks and gaps where ants enter the house should be repaired and caulked. Concentrate on other hidden areas near windows, pipes, and vents.
  4. Keep foods that attract ants in the refrigerator, airtight glass, or plastic jars.
  5. Clean the floor and other kitchen surfaces daily to remove all food crumbs.

Additionally, you should remove both the queen and the workers to eradicate an ant colony. Your efforts will be effective if you can complete both of these goals. If you remove the workers alone, the queen will keep producing more, and the infestation will return.

Conversely, the workers will keep breaking into your house if you get rid of the queen.


While there are many ways to control fire ants, getting professional help is the most effective way to deal with them on your property. They will troubleshoot and find all the breeding grounds before administering treatment.

That holistic strategy will completely eradicate pests from your home.