Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fire Ant Invasion

Fire ant It's on!
Imported Fire ants were introduced into the United States in 1918 from South America. The Black imported Fire ant was the first of two species to be introduced via shipping into Mobile, Alabama. This species remains limited to northeastern Mississippi, northwestern Alabama and southern Tennessee. The Red import Fire ant also became established in Mobile in the early 1940's. It now infests more than 318 million acres comprising most of the nine southeastern states and Puerto Rico, with small infestations in Tennessee, Oklahoma, New Mexico and California. A large population of Hybrid Fire ant a cross breed with The Black and Red can be found in southwestern Tennessee, northwestern Georgia, northern Alabama and Mississippi. 

Fire ants can travel long distances when newly mated queens land on cars, trucks, or trains or when winged forms are carried by the wind. Fire ants have high reproductive rate and disperse easily. Thousands of reproductive females are produced per colony and the mated females begin a colony wherever they land. Queen ants can fly up to one mile on their own, or even further when assisted by favorable winds. The ants eliminate competing insects and then rapidly overwhelm an area. It's estimated that 40 million people are in potential conflict with Fire ants almost on a daily basis.

Fire ant mound
Seen one of these Fire ant mounds in Georgia, stuck a stick into and as I pulled it out these buggers came flowing out like water.  If you were to stand there the ants would surely take you out!  It's on! (they're pissed!).  They respond rapidly and aggressively to any disturbance of the colony or to a food source.  They will bite the victim with their powerful jaws while arching their backs and stabbing the victim with a stinger from the rear of their abdomen.

Unvi of MN Times Art Jeff Gortzen

UT Fire ant website

Journeyman Pictures 

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