Fire Ant, Red Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta)

Order: Hymenoptera (hy-men-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Formicidae (for-MISS-ih-dee) (Info)
Genus: Solenopsis
Species: invicta


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Fairhope, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Marble Canyon, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Mabelvale, Arkansas
Malvern, Arkansas
Scott, Arkansas
Yucca Valley, California
Cape Coral, Florida
Crestview, Florida
Plant City, Florida
Punta Gorda, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Molena, Georgia
Ashton, Illinois
Destrehan, Louisiana
Metairie, Louisiana
Thibodaux, Louisiana
Vinton, Louisiana
Byhalia, Mississippi
Madison, Mississippi
Soso, Mississippi
El Prado, New Mexico
Concord, North Carolina
Monroe, North Carolina
Agra, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Ravia, Oklahoma
Union City, Oklahoma
Aiken, South Carolina
Campobello, South Carolina
Inman, South Carolina
Laurens, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Walhalla, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Brazoria, Texas
Cypress, Texas
Denison, Texas
Desoto, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Elsa, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Frisco, Texas
Houston, Texas
Iowa Park, Texas
Irving, Texas
New Ulm, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Spring, Texas (2 reports)
Yantis, Texas
Suffolk, Virginia
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Feb 18, 2017, asleeponthekeys from Punta Gorda, FL wrote:

I have had luck using regular blue Dawn dish soap in a hose end sprayer soaking the mounds while stabbing into them and stirring with a spike to make sure it completely soaks the entire mound down deep. After doing that I follow up the next day to see if there is a little new mound which appears sometimes. I'm thinking the little mound is being made by the ants that were away from the mound when I soaked it. I just fill up the sprayer with straight undiluted dawn and use the setting on the sprayer that creates a nice suds when it hits the ground. I've noticed that the ants don't come back into the soaped area for a long time. You never can completely get rid of fire ants because new colonies move into the area, If I see a trail of fire ants moving in I hit a good length of it with Diatomac... read more


On Mar 24, 2014, mensamom from Laurens, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

These are nasty, mean creatures! I've been using Ortho but it appears that when one mound disappears, two more crop up a few feet away. I don't think it's getting the queen. A friend told me that if you kill the queen, another will be born almost immediately to continue the colony - dont' know if that's true but it sure appears to be so. One sure fire treatment, pardon the pun, is to pour chlorine bleach directly on the bites immediately after you've been bitten and massage it in. It doesn't sting but it smells a bit. If you do this, the burning will stop instantly and you won't get those ugly blisters! I keep a bottle of bleach in my gardening supplies so it's always close at hand.


On Mar 25, 2013, grazeldahyde from Yantis, TX wrote:

This COMMENT is POSITIVE.....NOT the fire ant !!.....
If you get into fire ants and get stung.....SIMPLE HOUSEHOLD AMMONIA applied immediately will completely eliminate the itching and it will not fester up !! It neutralizes the little monsters venom ! I took an old roll on deodorant bottle, popped the ball out, filled it with ammonia, MARKED IT CLEARLY with marker, popped the ball back in and keep it handy in my garden tray. If you get stung, roll it on and keep working !! Amazing and CHEAP relief !!


On Jul 9, 2012, elvinap from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Meat tenderizer, applied immediately after bites will stop the blistering and the burning. There will be a bit of itching, but not too severe... Wet the bitten area then apply the meat tenderizer and rub in vigorously...


On Jul 2, 2012, Kenlynt83 from Walhalla, SC wrote:

To treat the bites, use ammonia, it neutralizes the formic acid they inject. If you treat the bites quickly, you won't develop the blister that normally follows the bite. And, just FYI, fire ant mounds never develop in my chicken yard. Don't know why, maybe the chickens disturb them too much? I don't think the chickens eat them.


On Jun 27, 2011, Sylvanmaid from New Ulm, TX wrote:

I try to live in harmony with Nature & detest using pesticides but when it comes to fighting Fireants, it's no holds barred! The best website I've found for keeping abreast of the latest weapons devised for repelling & killing these horrid South American invaders who, along with feral hogs, are the nemesis of every Texas gardener & farmer, is maintained by Texas A&M at And contrary to what anyone may tell you, sprinkling cornmeal, grits, instant oats, or any other substance on a mound does nothing to control them. It merely disturbs the Fire Ants entrance to their colony (the mound) & they rebuild one elsewhere. SInce it takes quite awhile for the a... read more


On May 19, 2011, Violaodorata000 from Yucca Valley, CA wrote:

I went to our local Swap Meet last weekend and not thinking, wore my flip flops. Bad idea I got bit by a huge fire ant. My entire foot hurt at one point. I did come home and use vinegar and baking soda and it helped alot. I was better by the next day.


On Apr 4, 2011, ozarkie from Harrison, AR wrote:

People who are allergic to the stings can go into anaphylactic shock and can have airways close off in a matter of minutes. The stings, sometimes only one, can be lethal for that reason unless emergency medical attention is obtained. Our daughter in Texas has gone through this twice; one time she got to the ER just as she passed out. Now, she carries an EpiPen (epinephrine/adrenalin) with her in case she gets a bite.


On Jan 15, 2011, janicedodson from Malvern, AR wrote:

Hardy little enemies. You can control or even defeat them if you hop to it when you spot those first mounds. Stand back and stir the mound up very well. Look out- they'll crawl up your legs, stinging all the way. Now cover the mound LIBERALLY with raw quick-cooking oats. Now walk away. The little devils will take this bounty into their nest and feast on it. The oatmeal swell up and POP goes the ant's tummy. Hopefully you will get the queen and that will take care of THAT nest. Even if you have to treat that mound again, it won't break your budget and uneaten oats are just future compost. Some folks here in the South use grits instead of oatmeal. Happy hunting.
Oh yes, those ant bites. Make a paste of baking soda& water and smash it on the bites. Old fashioned, but my husband said... read more


On Dec 16, 2010, themikeman from Concord, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

What makes these fire ants so incredibly nasty, is the fact that the cannot only just bite you one at a time, but if they are able to swarm up your feet and legs because you threaten their mound by standing on or near it, and they are able to get onto you in a grouping, then they will release a hormone signal to the others that they are now in postion, and they will all sting you at one time. this kind of swarm stinging can be life threatening to even an an adult if bad enough and can kill a small child or animal who cannot get away fast enough or get these off of them once they do get away from the nest. I once did some rock mining in a quarry in abbeville co, S.C and unsuspectingly sat on a large nest and they coated my entire legs within about 30 seconds, and had over 100 bites. What ma... read more


On Oct 16, 2010, Steve_in_NC from Monroe, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Their mounds may appear in any of the warm months, but they seem to spring up in great numbers in mid-fall. I have found that Spectracide products (they seem to change the formula regularly) that use synthetic pyrethins to be effective in destroying the colonies. Sprinkle the granules on the mound and move on to the next.


On Dec 5, 2007, Pricket from Crestview, FL wrote:

These ants have destroyed my white potatoes crook neck squash and virtually any other vegetable crop in the garden, by direct eating of the crop and fostering aphids. If you have a steam wash system for cleaning outside you can use a modified wand to insert into the hill 3 to 4 feet and as you remove it steam kill the colony core without poisoning the enviroment.


On Apr 27, 2007, Our_MS_Garden from Byhalia, MS wrote:

Ortho makes a very effective fire ant killer in powder form. Having over 10 acres in MS and finding many, many hills I have tried it all - this ortho product works best.

The plant trade brought these evil little pests to us, so in a way we are all a bit to blame but if we kill every nest we find these S. American invaders could be controlled.


On Feb 21, 2007, 37sue from Inman, SC wrote:

There is no postive comment in South Carolina on fire ants.We are infested and must work together to rid our yards or they will be in our homes.We need help.


On Jan 9, 2007, stephaniadawn from Agra, OK wrote:

best way i know how to get rid of fire ants.
get a shovel and in heavy boots, QUICKLY make a hole with a shovel in hill.take out one or two shovel fulls of dirt. you do not want to go too deep, just make a large volcano hole.
then leave them alone for about 30 mn and let them settle down. when they are settled down a bit go back with a coulple of gallons of hot oil. pour down hole. will kill colany.
found out by accedent when i had tried every thing else. i use old grease.
if you do not want the oil to be in your soil you can use the grease and when it hardens just dig it up. and toss out and replace the soil. wont be a lot. you can use that place for a planting hole after wards. just a thought


On Aug 25, 2006, TxTurqoize from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Awful awful pest! Fire ants have almost helped to eradicate some of our native Texas wildlife...including our native Horned Toad lizard. They also will fell fawns, calves and anything else that can't get out of the way. Detest them!


On Aug 25, 2006, Paulwhwest from Irving (Dallas area), TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

These terrible pests tunnel around the roots of plants so as to not allow the root hairs to obtain water, tend aphids, make awful looking anthills, and have a very painful sting that they use quite readily.