Tips And Tricks To Keep The Fire Ants In Tampa At Bay

fire ants fighting over food

Belonging to the insect order Hymenoptera and the family Formicidae, ants are common and troublesome pests that remain very busy foraging for sources of food. Ants have a variety of distinct characteristics, such as a skinny “waist” connecting their thorax and abdomen. Usually having angled antennae allowing for sharp sensory abilities, ants also benefit from a rather durable exoskeleton and six legs that emerge outward from the thorax. 

Most ant species live in eusocial groups called colonies composed of queens, workers, and other categories based on their role or purpose. Among the most common and most feared species are fire ants. 

What are fire ants? Data suggests that red imported fire ants (R.I.F.A.) originated in Brazil and began appearing in the U.S. during the 1940s and 1950s. A highly invasive species, fire ants produce dirt “mounds” when constructing nests and forage the land nearby for food. After discovering larger food sources, these ants often transport their find back to the nest in groups. Fire ants remain most active when temperatures range from 70 to 90 degrees. 

Are you noticing the presence of fire ants on your property? The best course of action involves contacting a Tampa pest control company. Experienced providers of pest control services know how to get rid of fire ants in your yard and some of the best measures for preventing subsequent problems with these undesirable pests.

Are These Fire Ants? 

Most fire ants measure approximately ¼ of an inch in length and appear in shades of red, brown, or black. Fire ant mounds usually remain visible, although the point of entry to the nest is not always evident. 

Do fire ants have wings? Yes. As with many ant species, winged colony members known as alates maintain responsibility for reproduction and may congregate in “swarms” in the early phases of the mating process before dispersing and forming new colonies. 

Are fire ants dangerous creatures? Fire ants are one of the only stinging ants found in the U.S. Aside from being painful, fire ant stings expose the victim to a venomous alkaloid composed of piperidines. When feeling threatened, fire ants often attack in groups, and each defender may sting multiple times. Humans often develop red spots on their skin that will blister; however, some individuals experience allergic reactions that warrant medical attention. 

What To Do If A Fire Ant Bites You

Are you wondering how to soothe fire ant bites? Wash the skin with soap and water and apply ice to limit swelling. Avoid scratching the area excessively, as this might make you susceptible to infection. Consider using a topical over-the-counter antihistamine or steroid when pain and itch persist.  

Some reports indicate that a 50% mixture of water and bleach or witch hazel may help alleviate irritated skin areas. In rare cases, humans might experience allergic reactions such as dizziness, nausea, or difficulty breathing and need assistance from a medical professional. 

Five Fire Ant Prevention Tips

Although fire ants in Tampa predominately live outdoors, they routinely create nests in residential areas and may infiltrate a home. Some of the best practices for preventing these pests include: 

  1. Clean up all food scraps and packaging materials after barbeques or picnics in yard areas and keep all trash bags in durable containers with functional lids. 
  2. Inspect the home’s exterior for any cracks or crevices near the foundation and fill them with a weatherproof caulk or sealant to prevent entry. 
  3. Seal electrical junction boxes and utility line pass-throughs on the structure's exterior to prevent intrusions. 
  4. Always place leftovers in the refrigerator or sealed containers and remove bowls of uneaten pet food. 
  5. Adopt regular cleaning practices in kitchen areas, such as sweeping crumbs and wiping spills. 

Fire ants represent a potentially dangerous pest; therefore, property owners experiencing a significant ant intrusion should promptly consult with a licensed local pest control professional. 

How to Get Rid Of Fire Ants For Good

For roughly 30 years, the experts with Haskell Termite & Pest Control have delivered results for homeowners struggling with pest-related concerns in Tampa. Contact our office today for a consultation.