Fire Ant


Actual Size: ⅛” to ⅜”

Characteristics: Blackish to red in color. Fire ants have a stinger in their abdomen.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: The reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Fire ants build mounds in almost any soil, favoring structural foundations and landscaping in open sunny areas.

Fire Ant Habits:

  • Aggressive species, and will dominate native species of ants.
  • Will bite and then use their stinger, located on their abdomen.
  • Fire ants feed on young plants and seeds, and will also attack small animals.

Fire Ants in SE Louisiana and Mississippi

Known for their painful sting, most people describe a fire ant sting as feeling like ‘fire’ hence their name. A single fire ant can sting and bite its victim repeatedly. When their mound is disturbed, workers immediately run to the surface. Attacks by fire ants are coordinated as hundreds of workers sting simultaneously. Feeding on almost any plant or animal material, they also feed on other insects as well. Unlike most venomous ants, fire ants bite to hold their prey and then use the stinger in their abdomen to deliver venom.

Fire Ant Habitat

Attracted to moisture, fire ants nest near rivers, well-watered lawns, and potted plants. Aggressive in nature, they push out native ant species in the area, disturbing ecosystems. Undisturbed fire ant mounds are frequently located in sunny areas, dome-shaped, and up to one foot high. Fire ants reproduce at an alarming rate and can spread throughout a lawn or open area quickly. These aggressive ants can gain access to homes through cracks, crevices, gaps under doors, windows, or walls.

Fire Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

The painful sting delivered by fire ants is a serious threat to humans and animals. Because fire ants can sting in unison, most people want to keep them off their property. Additionally, colony-building can damage plants, lawns, and outdoor electrical fixtures. Annually, $5 billion is spent in the U.S. alone on fire ant treatments. Due to the serious threat posed to people and their pets, if a mound is spotted, it is best to leave it alone. If you suspect a fire ant mound on your property, contact a professional fire ant exterminator.