Battling Red Imported Fire Ant

Fire Ants

Fire Ants
Photo: TAMU

The Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta, is an invasive species from South America. It produces high density populations and displaces other species of ants. The ants are aggressive, readily swarm and will sting unwary animals en masse. Allergic individuals stung by fire ants have died of anaphylaxis.

In addition to the North American invasion, the Red Imported Fire Ant has invaded Australia. The government has launched a comprehensive program to control the spread of the ant and eradicate colonies. The program includes citizen volunteers in areas of suspected infestation. The volunteers scout for fire ant mounds and report them. The colonies are eliminated by baits containing insect hormones.

Most of Australia is suitable for fire ant infestation. In the US populations are restricted to southern states by the freezing winter temperatures in higher latitudes. The Australian government would like to eradicate the Fire Ants. If that fails, they would like to limit their spread to areas where they could do great economic harm.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Invasive Species, News, Pest Management, Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Battling Red Imported Fire Ant

  1. Pingback: Battling Red Imported Fire Ant | Entomo Planet

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