Many of the most frequently encountered ant pests in the United States originate from other countries. Some of these common ant pests include Pharaoh ants, pavement ants and crazy ants. Although many non-native ant species in the US are well known house pests, some have inhabited the country for such a long time that they have adapted to the environment, and are not technically considered “invasive.” However, a large number of non-native ants that have invaded the country relatively recently have established an invasive habitat in Texas and other southern states where they inflict serious environmental damage in addition to being major household pests. These invasive ant pests include Argentine ants, longhorned crazy ants, and of course, red-imported fire ants. Red-imported fire ants have become established throughout the southern states, but they are particularly problematic in Texas. In fact, central Texas is the worst region in the state for red-imported fire ant pest issues, as 90 percent of the population has sustained fire ant stings.
Red-imported fire ants are well known for being one of the most dangerous insect pests inhabiting the US, and numerous people have died in response to their repeated stings since they were introduced into the country back in the 1930s. The vast majority of red-imported fire ant fatalities occur due to serious allergic reactions to their venom, and it is estimated that at least one percent of the population is allergic. Red-imported fire ants cannot be eradicated from areas of the natural environment where they have already become established, but in recent years, authorities have successfully contained wild populations, making it unlikely for the ant pests to continue expanding their habitat. While red-imported fire ants frequently establish lawn infestations, household infestations are not uncommon. In order to prevent red-imported fire ants from invading structures, the exterior cracks, crevices and other entry points on a home should be sealed. Anyone who sustains multiple stings should seek medical attention, even those who are not allergic.
Have you ever spotted red-imported fire ants within a home?