Fire Ant: Invasive Species

Type of Organism

  • Ants are eusocial insects
  • Fire ant is the common name for several species of the genus Solenopsis
  • Solenopsis are stinging ants

Area of Origin

  • Fire ants originated from South America but genetic analysis of populations that have invaded Asia show that they all started in the southern part of the United States

How the Fire Ant Spreaded

  • Invasion started when they appeared in the south of the United States
  • First arrived in the 1930's on cargo ships, possibly through dirt used as ballast
  • Over the past 20 years, the global movement of goods and foods made fire ants invade other areas

How Far Fire Ants Have Spread

  • fire ants live in all or parts of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia

Damage It Has Done to Nc

  • Fire ants harm people when they sting them. Stings are painful and can lead to infection
  • Their mounds may damage harvesting equipment
  • Livestock injury and crop damage

Management Plan

We could kill the queen ant since she is the one laying the eggs. Native ants can also be used to slow the spread of fire ants by competition for food resources. We could import a bunch of phorid flies to take lay eggs on fire ants to kill it. We can use boiling water and research has shown that 3 gallons of boiling water can eliminate 60% of the mounds treated.