Red Imported Fire Ant

Pest:  Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta)

Pest Type: Insect Pest

Major Identifying Features: Red imported fire ant are variable in size, dark reddish brown, number of clypeal teeth on head is important to distinguish from other ant species, Red imported fire ant has 3 clypeal teeth, shows aggressive behaviour when nest is disturbed, they will quickly climb onto and sting anything touching their mound or food source, mounds are dome-shaped and up to 1 ft high

Life Cycle: Four main stages: egg, larva, pupa, adult, eggs are too small to be seen, four larval instars, larvae develop into sterile worker ants, all of them female and wingless, some larvae receive extra food and become larger which will develop into reproductives, female reproductives are future queens and have wings, males develop into winged adults that are black, males die after mating, mated queens remove their wings and dig themselves in a sealed hole in the soil where they lay eggs that mature into worker ants within a month, some colonies have multiple queens and some only one queen

Pest Rating: N/A

Management Rating: Easy-moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Mostly found in residential and commercial areas in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties, almond groves in Central Valley, they build mounds of soil and sometimes can be found in places such as rotten logs, walls of buildings, under sidewalks, and in outdoor utility boxes, greatest number of ants develop in the spring

Damage Information: Can build 1000 mounds per acre in pastures in the southeastern U.S., sting is a serious concern to pest and people, a single ant can sting and bite several times, pustules may take several weeks to disappear, stings can cause allergic reactions, feed on almost any plant or animal material including insects, ticks, ground-nesting animals, young trees, seedlings, plant buds, fruit and seeds, build nests in walls and around structures which can damage outdoor electrical fixtures

Management Options: Call toll-free number (CDFA) 1-888-434-7326, baits are effective and safe, Warning on the use of chemicals

 

Sources:

http://www.ipm.ucanr.edu

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