Red imported fire ants are much more than a nuisance to the residents of Houston. These red ants have made a huge impact on the state of Texas, costing an estimated $1.2 billion each year. The red imported fire ant attacks urban, agricultural and wildlife areas. This red ant poses a tremendous health risk to humans, animals and plants.

This particular species of ant is of small to medium size and is red and black colored. They nest in the ground, building mounds of soft soil usually no larger than 18 inches. The mound has no single, central opening and, when disturbed, fire ants boil out of the mound from everywhere and begin aggressively attacking with a painful bite or sting.

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The imported red fire ant is believed to have originated in South America and made its way to the United States in the 1930’s. They made their journey into Texas in the 1950’s and from there have continually spread north, west and south.

The effects of these imported red fire ants can be devastating. They have been known to attack and kill newborn animals, both wildlife and domestic. Elderly, fragile humans are at risk of serious illness or death from numerous poisonous bites. This threat is not to be taken lightly as more than 80 human deaths have been attributed to anaphylactic shock from imported red fire ant bites.

Another area of concern is the damage these fire ants can cause to machinery. It seems that the fire ant is attracted to electricity. They not only eat through power lines, but also gather in large numbers on metal conductors. This creates havoc with junction boxes, traffic lights and air conditioners malfunctioning from electrical lines shorting out.

It is almost impossible to control imported red fire ants due to their ability to spread rapidly to multiple locations. In fact, total elimination is not possible. The intended purpose of pest management companies is to suppress the imported fire ant with the use of insecticides where it is environmentally possible along with biological control methods. One approach is to use a broadcasting bait insecticide in your yard, allowing ants to carry this back to the nest. Then, individual nests can be treated with hopes of killing the queens of the nest. In residential areas, it is also more effective to convince neighbors to treat their yard at the same time, as the imported fire ant does not respect property line boundaries.

Contact Holder’s Pest Solutions of Houston at first sighting of the imported red fire ants for the most environmentally sound and cost effective methods of control.