They even sound nasty with that name, don’t they? Fire ants are a threatening pest and have been known to do serious, idespread damage to farmer’s crops and their cattle, as well as humans. There were are two main species of fire ants, one black and one red. The black ones were somehow imported here from South America sometime in the 1930s and they spread like….well….wildfire.
Why did they spread so fast? Well, unlike many other types of ants, fire ants often will have several reproducing queens in one colony, instead of just one, laying eggs at an extremely rapid rate. The reason that they often do a lot of damage on farms is because when a a large area is cultivated, it removes any and/or all of the fire ants’ natural enemies, allowing them to basically do as they please without worry. In other words, they’re reproducing most of the time, never worrying about spedning time defedning themselves when they are in open areas with no enemies.
As humans, we can also be pestered by fire ants when they nest and colonize in building with rotten wood and similar areas in our dwellings. Fire ants don’t hide though. You can often find them in hot, open areas and you don’t want them to get angry with you. A fire ant’s sting can sometimes be life threatening, causing a allergic reaction that can last up to 10 days.
There have been steps taken in some areas of the United States to quarantine areas that have not yet have any signs of fire ants. That’s how much they are unliked.