The Red Imported Fire Ant, also known as Solenopsis invicta, is a toxic lawn pest that feeds on other insects and can be highly aggressive. Red Imported Fire Ants can be found throughout much of the southeastern United States.
Identifying Red Imported Fire Ant -
As an adult, Red Imported Fire Ant can range in color from yellow to reddish-brown to black. They have large eyes and four teeth on the mandibles. Adult fire ants also have two nodes (bumps) in the constriction that joins the thorax to the abdomen and antennae that are broken into 10 segments and are elbowed.
Worker fire ants may vary significantly in size. They are very aggressive and will swarm out of their nest to attack if disturbed. When they attack, an individual fire ant will grip the skin with its mouthparts and inject a toxin with their abdominal stinger. This sting may cause a burning and itching sensation or, in more severe cases, serious welts or allergic shock.
Damage caused by the Red Imported Fire Ants appear as patches of wilted, yellow-brown grass that may coalesce if there is a severe infestation. Symptoms are first seen in stressed turf along sidewalks or driveways, especially during hot, dry weather. Actual turf damage is a result of a loss of sap inside the plant and also toxins released by the pest that disrupt the vascular system. Drought stress can often mask the damage caused by this lawn insect.
Red Imported Fire Ants do not feed on turfgrass; they prey on other insects and dead animals. However, the mounds they build to warm eggs, larvae and pupae are unsightly and cause damage to the turf. These mounds can be up to two feet in diameter and up to 8 inches tall. Damage to turfgrass occurs when persistent mounds cover the turf and block out the sun.
It's best to kill insects, grubs and other pests before they have a chance to cause damage to your lawn. Scotts LawnService recommends our exclusive Scotts® GrubEx® and Ortho® Max™ Pro insect control products, which will kill a wide variety of lawn damaging pests. Ortho® Max™ Pro eliminates destructive, bothersome insects, without disturbing the earthworms that are beneficial to your lawn's health.
Scotts LawnService is the trusted industry leader for professional quality lawn care. Our exclusive lawn care products include premium grass seeds and professional-grade fertilizers; our lawn service teams are comprised of highly trained, industry-certified professionals. Contact a representative today for Red Imported Fire Ant control options available in your area and to learn how you can enjoy a lush, thicker lawn that only Scotts LawnService can deliver.