General Info
  • Fire ants are usually 1/8 - 1/4 inch long and reddish-brown or black in color
  • Fire ants are limited to the Southern tier of states including the Southwest, but they are expanding
Where They Nest
  • Fire ants generally build colonies outdoors in dome-shaped mounds that are often 1-2 inches in diameter
  • They will often kill the grass around their mounds
  • Not all outdoor mounds are visible – some are built under rocks or wood laying on the ground
  • When the soil is moist and cool, outdoor colonies are located within a couple of feet of the soil surface - during dry periods colonies may be down 5 or even 10 feet
  • After a heavy rain, many people observe new colonies - these could be new but often they are just hidden colonies that are being re-opened after wet soil clogs the ant tunnels
What They Want From You

When foraging indoors, fire ants are looking for:

  • Food and moisture (found in the sink, shower, leaky pipes, spills, etc.)
  • They are especially likely to look for water when outside temperatures are hot and the weather is dry
Why They’re A Problem
  • Fire Ants can bite you and your pets, but they also have a stinger on their abdomen that they use to inject venom into anything that disturbs their colony
  • Their stings can be quite painful and multiple stings may require medical attention
  • Occasionally, a severe and possibly fatal allergic reaction can occur in some individuals
  • Fire ants are a persistent problem in the south because they routinely move their colonies into new locations with ample food and moisture
Tips & Tricks
  • Fire ants build and follow trails - looks for these trails around foundations, baseboards, and other moist areas
  • Remove debris (wood, rocks, stones) close to the foundation of your home where fire ants may build an invisible colony
  • Caulk any points where ants enter into wall voids, cracks, and crevices including entry points from the outside

Avoid common mistakes

  • Consider hiring a professional yard maintenance company to treat fire ants if there are too many mounds to treat yourself, or if there is a medical reason to avoid stings
  • If you decide to treat your yard yourself, only use EPA-registered products labeled for use on fire ants and read and follow the instructions
  • Universities commonly recommend using a combination of residual sprays, mound treatments, and baits


Fire-Ant size bar

1/8 to 1/4 inch long


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