Red Imported Fire Ants March Through Southern U.S.NPMA Staff
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
An invasive species of ant known as the red imported fire
ant (RIFA) is making its way across the Southern U.S., raising
concern among residents in Florida, California and every southern
state in between. RIFAs are aggressive and are known to swarm and
sting humans and animals when their mound-like nests are disturbed.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages people
to use caution should they encounter RIFAs in their
homes or on their properties.
first found in Alabama in 1930, after they were brought into the
country on cargo ships arriving from their native South America.
Without natural predators in the U.S., the invasive species has
thrived and expanded into at least 14 southern states. The small,
reddish brown ants are often found in landscaped areas, garages and
near structural foundations. A single colony can contain 250,000
"Red imported fire ants are just one
of more than 700 ant species found in the U.S., but are one of the
most dangerous," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public
affairs for the NPMA. "Their painful sting can cause blisters of
white pustules, infections and severe allergic reactions. Due to
these health risks, people should not attempt to control an
infestation on their own. Instead, contact a licensed pest
professional if signs of a red imported fire ant colony are found
near your home."
The NPMA recommends following these
tips to protect your family from red imported fire
- Seal cracks and holes around your home.
- Wear protective, closed-toe shoes and long pants when in
outdoors areas where fire ants may be present.
- Frequently inspect your property for signs of an infestation.
Look for mound-like nests, paying special attention to yards and
landscaped areas, patios, sidewalks, compost piles, under trees and
around electrical equipment.
- If a nest is found, do not disturb it. Contact a pest
For more information on RIFAs, or to
find a pest professional, visit www.pestworld.org.
NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was
established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's
commitment to the protection of public health, food and