Jacksonville Residents Fighting Fire Ants With Fire

October 11, 2019

a fire ant up close

There are few pests that can cause as much instantaneous pain as fire ants. These ants live in large colonies and getting bitten by one usually means you’ll be bitten by many. If you accidentally stand or sit on a fire ant mound, these ants will swarm you and sting repeatedly. Find out how to identify them before they bite and how to keep them off your property.

What Are Fire Ants?

Fire ants are small ants, usually red in color. They aren’t native to Florida but were brought over on trade ships from South America in the 1930s. Unfortunately, they’ve had no trouble surviving in the new environment and can thrive in Florida’s temperature. They are known as a year-round pest because Jacksonville doesn’t usually get cold enough to kill them. Though they may begin to slow down during the colder months, they certainly still pose a threat.
Fire ants build dome-shaped mounds up to three feet wide and over a foot high. These mounds can contain up to 500,000 fire ants! Even worse, there may be several of these colonies in a single yard. If you get too close, you’ll know it by the painful stings these aggressive ants are sure to give.

Fire Ant Bites

Although people talk about fire ant bites, in reality it’s a sting that causes so much pain. Ants will bite in order to latch onto your skin but then they use their stinger to inject venom into your skin. This venom is what causes the burning sensation that earned fire ants their name.
After you’ve been bitten, you may find a large red welt. Within 24 hours, puss-filled sores may appear in place of the welts. In a few days, the welts will rupture. During this time, fire ant bites can move from painful to itchy. The itch can last several days!
Fire ant stings can also be extremely dangerous. A fire ant sting for someone who is allergic may cause severe swelling, hives, itchiness, and anaphylaxis. These symptoms can be deadly, they require immediate medical attention and sometimes the use of an epi-pen.

Avoiding Fire Ant Bites

Fire ants are found all over Florida. They are drawn to meats, greasy items, and sweet foods, so you may want to rethink that Florida picnic. Unfortunately, insect repellants are ineffective against fire ants, so spraying bug spray before you go outside won’t guarantee a bite-free experience. You can avoid bites by wearing full clothing and limiting your amount of exposed skin, not something too many Floridians prefer to do.
If you have fire ants on your property, you may be able to spray them with insecticides to cut down some of the numbers. However, be aware that incorrect use of insecticides may cause the colony to split and form more colonies-worsening your problem! Instead of fighting these painful pests, let Lindsey Pest Services take over. Our expertise and years of experience have prepared us to deal with these nasty ants, pain-free.


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