What Do European Fire Ants Look Like?
The size of an adult European fire ant can vary. Workers are reddish-brown and measure about three-sixteenths of an inch in length. Their bodies have two distinct segments with a pair of back-pointing spines at the waist. Queens are slightly longer and have transparent wings.
How Can I Tell if I Have a European Fire Ant Problem?
Because these pests are so small, it’s difficult to detect an infestation. Some signs that you have European fire ants include:
- Nests – Instead of creating mounds above the soil, European fire ants construct multiple nests in damp spots like piles of leaves or fertilizer. You may also notice overturned dirt near plant and tree roots.
- Sightings – European fire ant colonies can contain up to 10,000 workers. If you see a large swarm of ants, it’s likely that there are many more nearby.
- Stings – These aggressive insects often sting anyone who threatens or disrupts their territory. You could experience a painful burning sensation when you touch this pest.
How Do European Fire Ants Get Inside Homes and Businesses?
European fire ants do not usually enter houses, schools, or businesses, but you might carry them inside without even realizing it. For example, they often live in potted plants and mulch. Bringing an infested container inside may allow this pest to migrate to indoor locations like firewood or compost bins.
Are European Fire Ants Dangerous?
Though small, European fire ants can cause major issues. As these pests move to new areas, they displace native insects and disturb natural ecosystems. They also forage on shrubs and trees, running the risk of damage and costly losses for gardeners or landscapers.
To protect their nests and feeding grounds, a European fire ant will sting people or animals. Direct contact may result in a burning sensation and a swollen red bump on your skin. In some extreme cases, you could have a severe allergic reaction that requires medical attention.
How Can I Prevent European Fire Ant Infestations?
Since European fire ants prefer damp, shaded environments, it may help to increase sun exposure and reduce moisture in your backyard or garden. You can also get rid of any potential nesting sites near your home like tall grass or woodpiles. If you think you have a European fire ant problem, call (877) 933-2637 to speak with the experts at Waltham Pest Services.