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Red-Imported Fire Ant Sting Fatalities Are Disturbingly Common Within Texas

Numerous ant species are well known pests within homes located in every region of the United States. Some of the most commonly reported ant species found within Texas homes include pavement ants, carpenter ants, crazy ants, and worst of all, red-imported fire ants. Texas is obviously a large state in terms of area, and due to its southern location bordering Mexico, several ant species that are native the South America have journeyed into the state where they quickly established an invasive habitat. One of these species, the crazy ant, is becoming more well known among residents of the lone star state due to its rapidly expanding habitat. While the crazy ant has been documented as causing nuisance infestations that sometimes result in serious damage to appliances, televisions, video game consoles and numerous other electronic devices, the notorious red-imported fire ant remains the most widely feared invasive South American ant species within the state. This fear is well justified, as the red-imported fire ant has caused many deaths within Texas due to its venomous sting, which may trigger serious allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock. In fact, Texas is second only to Florida in terms of reported red-imported fire ant fatalities..

Unfortunately, the red-imported fire ant is extremely difficult, if not impossible to eradicate from areas where it has established an invasive habitat. This dangerous ant species does not often infest homes, but they frequently infest residential yards where many fatal attacks upon humans have occurred. The first red-imported fire ant sighting in Texas occurred during the 1930s, and since then, this species has spread to every county within the state. Back in 1989, the Fire Ant Subcommittee of the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology surveyed nearly 30,000 physicians in order to determine the total amount of fatal anaphylactic shock cases caused by red-imported fire ant stings. The study collected a total of 83 fatal anaphylactic shock deaths that resulted from red-imported fire ant stings, 22 of which occured in Florida followed by 19 that occurred within Texas. This study was conducted 30 years ago, and since then, the red-imported fire ant has increased its habitat substantially within the US.

Have you ever encountered red-imported fire ants?

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Crazy Ants Have Terrorized School Children, Caused Power Outages In Homes, And Are Moving Into Houses, But Researchers May Be Able To End The Ant Scourge In Texas

The South American ant species known as N. fulva, or the crazy ant, was spotted for the first time on US soil in Houston back in 2002. Since then, this troublesome ant has established an invasive habitat in southeastern and parts of central Texas. These ants are unique for fitting just about every category of “pest” that has been established, as this species is an agricultural pest, yard pest, house pest, and a pest of medical significance to animals, including large livestock, like cows. Although the crazy ant does not infest structural wood like carpenter ants, swarms of these invasive ants do infest electrical devices like appliances, fuse boxes, electrical utility boxes, sewage pumps and power grids, making the insects “structural pests” as well. Basically, all types of electrical equipment can fail due to crazy ant infestations, and these types of infestations have been found within and near homes and buildings, sometimes causing power outages.

In 2014, crazy ants swarmed young school children that were on a field trip in Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco. It was during this time that park authorities discovered that crazy ants had killed off numerous insect and arachnid species within the park, including scorpions and tarantulas. The invasive ants even managed to blind rabbits and other animals by spraying their naturally occurring acid into their eyes. Enormous crazy ant nests had become established around the parks restrooms, posing a serious threat to visitors.

Unlike most ant species, crazy ants do not construct defined nests; instead, they simply gather in massive number over all types of natural and manmade surfaces. Residents living in areas of Texas where these ants have become established have found their homes inundated with these ants, causing widespread terror, but luckily, the bites these ants inflict to humans is not very painful.

In response to the crazy ant dispersal across southeastern Texas, a University of Texas researcher, Ed LeBraun, is determined to find a biological control method in the form of a crazy ant predator to control crazy ant populations before the insects make further advancements into urban and residential areas. Unfortunately, LeBraun claims that the insects probably cannot be eradicated from the state, but they can be controlled.

Have you ever encountered a swarm of crazy ants?

 

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Why Are Pets Often Attacked By Red-Imported Fire Ants? And What To Do If Your Pet Sustains Stings

The presence of red-imported fire ants (RIFA) in Texas is well known to residents of the state, as this insect species’ sting transmits a dangerously potent venom into the bloodstream, making RIFA a public health concern. While most people likely associate RIFA with the painful and dangerous stings that they inflict on humans, pets and small animals are far more likely to sustain RIFA stings than humans. In fact, a survey conducted by veterinarians found that pets (mostly dogs) are treated for RIFA stings more often than any other type of animal.

There are several reasons as to why pets are particularly vulnerable to sustaining medically significant RIFA stings. Some of these reasons are obvious, while others would surprise most people. For example, it is not well known that RIFA are attracted to pet food. RIFA often blanket pet food bowls, covering the pet’s food source entirely. Not surprisingly, this ant behavior leads to many nasty and dangerous pet injuries inflicted by large numbers of RIFA. In addition to the pain and medical significance of RIFA stings inflicted around and inside of the nose and mouth of pets, these encounters can make pets avoid consuming their food in fear of a repeat attack.

Most pet owners are mindful about where they allow their pets to wonder, as disease-spreading ticks are abundant in many regions of the US, but most residents feel comfortable allowing their pets to run and play within the confines of their property. Unfortunately, RIFA are known for establishing habitats in a vast array of environments and landscapes, and the ants are by no means uncommon in residential yards in Texas. When RIFA are disturbed, thousands will emerge from their underground nesting galleries with the intention of stinging the source of the disturbance. The roughhousing and digging behaviors demonstrated by many dog breeds is more than enough to rally the ants from their nests. Given the much smaller size of pets compared to humans, RIFA venom has a far more dangerous effect on pets, and multiple stings are sufficient for delivering a lethal dose of venom into an animal’s bloodstream. Although RIFA habitats cannot be eradicated entirely, the ants can be controlled to the point where they no longer pose a threat to humans or pets. Simply keeping an eye out for RIFA specimens and nesting mounds on a property can prevent dangerous encounters between the ants and your pet/s.

Has your pet ever sustained a medically significant insect or arachnid sting or bite?

 

 

Waco Ant Control Tips! | iPest Solutions

Of all the U.S. ant species, carpenter ants and fire ants pose the most risks for homeowners. Carpenter ants excavate wood in order to build their nests, which can compromise a home’s structural soundness, and fire ants in the southern US and California can inflict painful stings in high numbers that can cause anaphylactic shock in about 2 percent of the population. You can utilize these ant control tips to avoid an ant infestation! Waco Fire Ant Control

  • Wipe up crumbs and spills immediately
  • Store garbage in sealed containers and remove from the home frequently
  • Keep food packages closed or sealed and store products in air-tight containers
  • Avoid leaving food out on the counter or pet food out on the floor for long periods of time
  • Repair holes or gaps in window and door screens
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes
  • Keep tree branches and shrubbery well-trimmed and away from the house
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows
  • If you suspect an ant or any pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect, identify and treat the problem

Ant Control in Waco, Texas

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Crazy Ants Can Destroy Electrical Appliances After Finding Their Way Into Your House

The tawny crazy ant was first discovered in the United States way back in 1938. This first crazy ant specimen found in the US was collected from Brownsville, Texas, where crazy ant populations are still high in number today. Tawny crazy ants are known by many common names, such as “rasberry crazy ants” and simply “crazy ants”. Crazy ant populations in the US did not become large enough to pose a significant threat until the early 2000s when numerous colonies were found within 27 counties located in southeastern Texas. Since then, the crazy ant has established an invasive presence within every one of the Gulf Coast states. In addition to the many unique and costly forms of damage that these ants inflict within homes, to the ecosystem and to infrastructure, these ants also seem to be resistant to the typical types of bait used to control other invasive ant species, such as red fire ants. All over-the-counter insecticides are worthless against infestations of these ants, and there is currently only one chemical insecticide that has proven effective at controlling crazy ant populations. But this chemical, fipronil, is heavily regulated and its use is strictly limited to areas that are affected by destructive forms of crazy ant activity.

Crazy ants have long been causing serious problems within structures such as houses, apartments and buildings within the state of Texas. For example, several years ago in Austin, numerous crazy ant infestations were reported within several homes, businesses and apartments. The crazy ants that had been infesting these structures caused many appliances of all kinds to stop working after the insects made their way into the internal machinery where they damaged wires and caused short circuits that resulted in temporary power loss. Most notable were the scores of air conditioners in Austin that became worthless after swarms consisting of thousands of crazy ants accessed the internal compartments of these air conditioners. Once the ants gained access to the internal wiring within these air conditioners, they caused circuits to short out by using their own bodies to redirect electrical currents. Researchers are not yet in full agreement concerning the reasons for this ant species’ natural attraction to electrical equipment.

Are crazy ants a threat to homes and infrastructure within the area of the country where you reside?

 

 

 

 

Fire-Ants

A Skydiver Is Saved By Venomous Fire Ants After Her Parachute Fails To Open

A Skydiver Is Saved By Venomous Fire Ants After Her Parachute Fails To Open

Not everybody has the guts to give skydiving a chance. Many adrenaline junkies cannot get enough skydiving in their lives, and the activity is relatively safe, as it is rare for parachutes to fail at opening. Although parachutes open for skydivers nearly one hundred percent of the time, the thought of a parachute not opening is enough to keep many people from attempting this extreme sport. Imagine for a moment what it would feel like to discover a malfunctioning parachute while falling from a height of well over fourteen thousand feet. If you found yourself in this situation what would you do? Of course, there would not be a lot to do in this situation except for attempting to steer oneself toward a relatively soft area in which to land. In addition to this, skydivers are trained to brace their bodies in a particular manner before making impact with the ground. In any case, one thing you certainly would not be thinking about in such an intense moment is fire ants. However, a woman who jumped from a plane with a failed parachute managed to survive, and she owes her life to fire ants.

There are not many situations in which falling on a fire ant nesting mound would be advantageous, but one woman managed to find a benefit. Back on September 25th, 1999, a forty seven year old woman named Joan Murray went skydiving. Unfortunately, on that day, Murray’s parachute failed to open after she jumped from a plane that was flying at an altitude of fourteen thousand five hundred feet. Murray’s secondary parachute also failed to deploy, which led to Murray crashing into a fire ant mound at more than eighty miles per hour. These fire ants did not waste any time attacking her unconscious body before she was rushed to the hospital. According to doctors, the fire ants shocked Murray’s heart into beating in addition to stimulating her nerves. By attacking Murray, the fire ants were helping to preserve her body until she reached a hospital. Murray was in a coma for two weeks and several operations had to be performed on her, but she survived thanks to those fire ants.

Have you ever accidentally disturbed a group of fire ants?

Waco Ant Control

Waco Ant Control: How to Get Rid of Ants

Waco Ant Control: How to Get Rid of Ants

 

Call us today 254-855-6647 for your free ant & termite inspection.

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Ask the Pest Professor: Termites vs. Ants

What’s the difference between termites and flying ants? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association, explains!