If you’ve been on the receiving end of a fire ant’s bite, then you know the pain. And these bites can become a problem, especially if you have an allergic reaction or the recipient is a small child.
Fire ants can become a problem for your property and home as well, because they can invade and damage your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units, and even destroy plants around the house.
So, are there fire ants in Florida? Yes, there are certainly fire ants in Florida! This writer learned that the hard way, after several fire ant stings in Miami, and a short stint in the emergency room due to an allergic reaction!
In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at fire ants in Florida.
Are There Fire Ants In Florida?
The simple answer to the question, are there fire ants in Florida is yes! In fact, there are two different species of fire ants living in Florida — the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren), which is the most common, and the native or tropical fire ant (Solenopsis geminata Fabricius).
The more common red imported fire ant originates from South America, and is thought to have been introduced to the U.S. from Brazil sometime between 1933 and 1945.
It has since become both an annoying pest and a health hazard in the southern states, including Florida.
Why Fire Ants Are Trouble
For some reason, red imported fire ants find electrical currents attractive, so you will often find their nests in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units in your home. They also cause damage to utility housings and other electrical equipment by stinging the wires in order to produce their pheromones, which attract even more fire ants to the colony’s location.
They also cause damage to utility housings and other electrical equipment by stinging the wires in order to produce their pheromones, which attract even more fire ants to the colony’s location.
In fact, they are also known to infest traffic light signal boxes, because of their attraction to electrical fields. In Texas, for example, they have been known to enter the mechanical switches in traffic light intersections, causing malfunction of the various components in the cabinets.
And a nightmare for the tech who comes to fix everything!
A typical red imported fire ant colony will have around 80,000 workers.
It has been estimated by the FDA that $5 billion is spent every year on controlling the damage caused by the red imported fire ant.
Why Fire Ants Are A Health Hazard
If you get bitten by a red imported fire ant, then you will certainly feel the stinging pain that they leave behind from their venom. Besides the itchiness that can occur while your skin is healing, quite often the bite will also blister and fill up with a white or yellow pus-like fluid.
The more often you are bitten by fire ants, the more likely you will have an allergic reaction to the venom. And the more likely you’ll need to visit the emergency room like this writer, for life-threatening symptoms. Your bites can also get infected if the pus-like blisters become infected. This all means that you want to avoid getting bitten by these little beasts, and neither do your children.
So overall, red imported fire ant bites are something you definitely want to avoid, and you will have to get rid of them immediately if you have an invasion in or around your home.
How To Get Rid Of Fire Ants In Florida
Many people take it upon themselves to do things like pour boiling water into their mounds, but this method is not very effective. You won’t kill all of them — around 20% of the colony is out causing havoc elsewhere at any time.
Therefore, your best bet would be to call in a professional pest control firm that has experience with dealing with red imported fire ant invasions. They will be able to treat your home, lawns, and back yards to get rid of them for good.
Are there fire ants in Florida? Yes, there are, and if you’re allergic, you need to be prepared. So, if you see any around your home, you now know what you need to do next to keep you and your family safe from these miniature destroyers.