imported fire ant information:
IS RED IMPORTED FIRE ANT (RIFA)?
RIFA is dark red in color, and
to 1/4" in length. An established RIFA colony builds
a gopher-like mound of soil up to 18 inches or higher.
built in open sunny areas, sometimes supported by
a wall post or shrub. The mound has no obvious entrance/exit
hole. The ants enter and leave through underground
tunnels. RIFA worker ants in a colony vary in size.
ants guarding the mound are much larger than the ants
out foraging for food and water.
| Worker fire ants
vary in size with the largest called majors, the medium-sized
called medias and the smallest, which make up the
majority of the workers, called minors.
ARE RIFA A PROBLEM?
Fire ants aggressively
defend their soil mounded colonies. When you disturb
a mound, hundreds of RIFA worker ants will "boil" out
of the mound to attack the intruder. The attacking
ants simultaneously sting their victim repeatedly.
When the fire ant stings, it injects a venom that causes
a burning sensation. Blisters form, and if scratched
they can become infected. Some people are allergic
to the venom. Watch for symptoms such as: severe swelling,
shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, headaches and
profuse sweating. If you are severely stung or show
allergic symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
These ants may also attack pets, livestock, and wildlife,
sometimes blinding or killing young animals and birds
that are unable to escape.
In some cases, common ants compete with RIFA for food,
water, and space. These other ants will raid the RIFA
colonies and kill newly mated queens before they produce
offspring. These non-RIFA ant colonies therefore become
our allies in this battle.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Click here to download RIFA Brochure
Click here to download Map of RIFA Infested Cities in
For further online information about RIFA,
visit the Cooperative Extension System Website at: