Fire ants are social insects that nest in the soil in large colonies that contain tens of thousands of ants. This tiny ant, only one-quarter of an inch long, got its name because of its reddish color.
It is considered one of man’s worst enemies. The fire ant lives in most of the southern states of the United States and all along the Atlantic coast as far north as Pennsylvania. Fire ants dig tunnels underground that push up the surface of the earth some ten to eighteen inches.
These mounds damage crops and the machinery that harvests crops. The tiny ants also suck the juices from plant roots, stems, and seeds and destroy trees. Fire ants can kill A young lambs, chickens, and pigs with their stinging jaws! Human beings have died as a result of having been attacked by them.
If an ant mound is stepped on by an animal or human, thousands of ants rush out to sting the intruder. 3,000 to 5,000 stings can be given in just a few seconds, and the stings are as severe as those of the honeybee.
Fire ants first entered the United States about 1918, near Mobile, Alabama. Fire ants spread by swarming and mate while airborne.