A single unobtrusive fire ant mound can be home to several hundreds of thousands of fire ants. Ants are cousins to bees and wasps and as such females in most species have stingers and inject venom. The venom from fire ants causes a burning sensation in most people and that is why they have the name fire ant.
Fire Ant Habits
Fire ants are one of the more aggressive ant species in Texas. Even though they eat plants and seeds, they will defend their colony quickly and in some cases, with deadly force. In fact, fire ant venom kills cells. They have two types of toxins both of which kill cells making. While the venom of fire ants is different from that of black widow spiders, both toxins are necrotic – they cause cell death. Fire ant venom can be dangerous on many levels.
Sting Dangers and Venom
One sting is not likely to kill you unless you are hyper allergic to the toxins. For most people, even, a few stings can be problematic because of secondary infections. One of the venoms that they use kills cells at the sting site. That means several if not more cells on the surface will die and leave a wound. This toxin – piperidine alkaloid – is also what causes the sting to burn. All that burning means itching and scratching which is what leads to secondary infections.
Swarming and Defenses
Fire Ants are highly aggressive. They use pheromones called defenins which are chemical signals that cause the entire soldier class and often other drones to pour out of the colony and defend it. Ants are social insects, and they will swarm like yellowjackets and honeybees to defend their home. The biggest problem with fire ants is that they are much more aggressive about defending their home than are most native ants. That is one reason why fire ants are spreading like wildfire. They outcompete native ants for resources and they defend with deadly accuracy.
DIY Home Remedies for Fire Ants
There are some doozies of home remedies online for fire ant control. Personally, I would not try most of them. They range from Setting fire to the mount to pouring gasoline on it. The deal with social insects and especially with ants is that you cannot use conventional means to control their populations. These are not just ants. In fact, there is the thought that the entire colony is a single organism. This is because ants within the colony have specific jobs. When you torch their mound, you kill only one or two types of fire ants. The works and the soldiers. Inside protected by the earth is the queen, and other ants. They just move to another spot in your yard and start again. Females within the Hymenoptera order – wasp, bees, and ants – do not specifically need to breed to reproduce. This is why so many of the wasps in a yellowjacket colony can sting – they are all females. Only female wasps, bees and ants can sting. The males have no stinger.
If you have fire ant infestations call our professionals to treat the entire colony and not just a few of the worker types. We provide comprehensive pest control services throughout the great Austin area and we specialize in fire ants control.
Do you need pest control? Don't wait. Call Robert's Pest Control now at (512) 444-0132.