Pest Guides

Fire Ant

Solenopsis spp

Appearance

Image of Fire Ant [Solenopsis spp] | Ehrlich Pest Control
  • Queens 5/8" long.
  • Workers 1/8"-1/4" long.
  • Coppery–brown on the head and body, with a darker abdomen.
  • Solenopsis has a very distinctive two–segment antennal club, which is most visible in the front view of the female reproductive ant.

Lifecycle

  • After swarming from the nest and mating the queen searches for a suitable spot to lay her eggs. Once found, she can lay up to 125 eggs in late spring.
  • Larvae hatch within 8 to 10 days, and the pupal stage lasts for 9 to 16 days.
  • Larvae feed on secretions from the queen’s salivary glands and broken down wing muscles until the first worker ants emerge. After this first batch of larvae moult into workers the queen’s role returns to egg laying – she can lay up to 1500 per day. Worker ants continue with larval care, nest building and food foraging.
  • Fertile males are produced later in the season.

Habits

  • Foraging workers diet consists of dead animals, including insects, earthworms, and vertebrates. Workers also collect honeydew and forage for sweet food, proteins, and fats.
  • Swarming characteristics – mating between queens and fertile males takes place on the wing mid to late summer. Males perish after mating.
  • Nest locations can be a mound of up to 40 cm or next to objects found on the ground, e.g. logs.
  • If aggravated, these react aggressively and can inflict a painful sting, resulting in a pustule some 48 hours later.
  • These ants are a major agricultural and urban pest, destroying crops and invading residential areas both outdoors and indoors.

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