Fire ants (also known as Red Imported Fire Ants) are an invasive species of ants. Originally from South America, they have been introduced to various countries around the world, particularly warmer coastal climate areas. Fire ants can be found throughout the southern part of the United States. Luckily, they have not yet made a home in Wisconsin. Fire ants are reddish-brown in color and are roughly ⅛-in long.
Fire ants are known for their painful bites and stings. The venom that fire ants produce is used to capture prey as well as in defense against predators. The venom from their stings can cause swelling and intense burning sensations. Not only can they cause serious health issues, but they can also cause severe structural and electrical damage. Fire ants are a colony-dwelling ant with colonies up to 250,000 ants that create large dirt mounds. Nest formation can damage building foundations. Worker fire ants, who are attracted to electricity, can destroy electrical equipment. Additionally, these ants have a detrimental impact on crops and cause harm or even death to livestock as well.