How Big Are Fire Ants?
Ever wondered how big fire ants are? If your home or commercial property has been infested by troublesome ants, it can help to properly identify them in order to provide the best treatment and protection.
Identifying Red Imported Fire Ants
Of the soil-dwelling ants you may encounter in Florida and the Southeast, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) is aggressive and destructive, while the pyramid ant (Dorymyrmex bureni) is peaceful and beneficial. Both, however, have similar body types, characteristics and behaviors, and are often confused. Let’s take a closer look at the differences.
Size: The pyramid ant is small, at just under 1/8-inch in length, and the worker ants are uniform in size. Fire ants are slightly larger and workers can vary in length from 1/8-inch to about 1/4-inch long.
Coloration: Pyramid ants are orange-red on the thorax and abdomen. They may have some darker red mottling on their bodies, but they are primarily orange-red. Fire ants have a deep reddish-brown thorax and a black abdomen.
Mounds: Both mounds are round, but fire ant mounds are flat, about as wide as a dinner plate, up to 10 inches tall, and have no visible openings. Pyramid ant mounds are smaller (about 2 to 4 inches in diameter), have a visible entrance hole, and are built in a distinct cone or pyramid shape, almost like a small volcano or funnel.
Colony: The average pyramid ant colony consists of a few thousand ants. In comparison, a red fire ant colony often numbers up to half a million ants. A property with single queen fire ant colonies may have 40 to 150 mounds and about 7 million red fire ants per acre.
Behavior: Pyramid ants are peaceful, and fire ants are aggressive. If you disturb the ground near a fire ant mound, the ants will aggressively attack and sting anything standing above or near it. Pyramid ants will hastily retreat up the sides of their cone-shaped nest to the entrance at the top and disappear into the mound to hide.
Diet: Fire ants feed on almost anything, but they prefer high-protein foods such as young seedlings and animals. Pyramid ants love sugary foods, but they are natural predators against undesirable garden pests, eating both live and dead insects. Their most redeeming trait is that a large percentage of their prey is the dreaded fire ant!
If you have to choose between the pyramid ant and the red fire ant, which one would you keep around?
Leave Fire Ant Control to the Professionals!
The key to controlling fire ants is to identify them quickly and take action to minimize the damage they cause to humans, animals and property. Fire Ant Control, LLC, provides the most effective and affordable fire ant solution to homes and businesses throughout South Florida, and anywhere else our services are needed.
The potent, food-like granular bait we use contains an insect growth regulator that sterilizes the queen and is approved for use around people, pets, livestock, and on pastures, hay fields and farmland.
Extermination is not immediate but, once the worker ants have eaten the bait and carried it down into the colony, sterilizing the queen, the entire colony will disappear, and no new ants will be born. Within weeks, your property will be 85-95% free of fire ants.
Because new fire ant colonies can develop when winged adult ants fly off to mate and start a new colony, or when an existing colony decides to expand into new territory, we highly recommend treatments every four months to keep fire ants under control.
If you need more information on how big fire ants are or what to do about them, give Fire Ant Control, LLC a call at (239) 312-8200 to schedule a free consultation. We are a recognized specialist in controlling red fire ants on any size or type of land, public or private.