What is an Red Imported Fire Ants?
Red imported fire ants (RIFAs, for short) get their common name from their ability to inflict painful stings. These dark reddish-brown ants are an invasive species found throughout the southern part of the U.S.
- Color: Dark reddish brown
- Legs: 6
- Shape: Segmented; oval
- Size: 1/8 – 3/8
- Antennae: Yes
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Red imported fire ants usually nest in soil near structural foundations or in landscaping. Although these fire ants are often found outdoors, they can gain access to buildings through HVAC systems and AC units. If they manage to get inside, red ant bites can become an issue.
Contrary to popular belief, these ants do not have a painful bite. Only the sting is painful. They bite while stinging, but that only provides the ant with leverage for the sting. The bite does not cause any pain or damage on its own. The sting of a red imported fire ant often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Persons allergic to insect stings will react more severely to red ant “bites.”
Red Imported Fire Ant Prevention
Red imported fire ants and their telltale mound nests should be actively avoided. Interfering with a fire ant nest can cause them to sting, resulting in painful welts. To prevent red ants from entering a structure, seal all internal and external cracks and crevices.
If you have fire ants, fear not! You can contact the pest management professionals at PMi for fire ant treatment and prevention. Our experienced staff members will be able to make sure you get the right advice.