How do you know you have red ants on your compound? You will likely spot a trail of red ants marching in a very orderly fashion. If you are in a place that has no ground cover they are easy to make out because of their reddish brown color. In an area with ground cover it might be impossible to see them physically as they hug the ground and are often obscured by the foliage of grass blades and other plants or weed.
In such a case, you are likely not to see them and if you are unfortunate enough, you will feel them all over your pants without warning. Their sting is uniquely painful. Several red ants biting at your skin is not a pleasant experience. The bite is akin to a small burn which has earned them nick name ‘fire ant’.
Most other ants tend to bite and then spray acid on the wound. Fire ants on the other hand bite on you to get a good hold and then sting from their abdomen. With the sting, they inject toxic alkaloid venom known as piperidine.
If you are lucky, they will just be passing through. But more often than not, if you happen to spot them, they are out hunting for food to take back to their colony. And usually, that means that their nest and colony is just somewhere nearby.
Red ants nest
In case you are wondering where red ants live, they have preference to build mounds in all manner of soils, provided it’s in an open sunny area such as such as parks, fields and lawns.
Fireants can build their mounds as high as 18 – 24 inches in height if the soil is favorable and not crumbly like sand. These ants live in colonies that comprise of at least one queen and several hundred thousand ants. A colony can total anywhere between 100,000 – 500,000 thousand ants.
What does a red ant look like?
The ants themselves don’t look like much with a paltry length of roughly 1/8 to 1/4 inch inches. They have a reddish brown color hence their name red ants. If you have been bitten by a red ant before and you happen to see their nest or an army of them marching through looking for food, they will often strike fear in you because of their force in numbers and their destructive ability.
What do they eat?
Fire ants are omnivorous and consume just about any type of meats, sweet and greasy food. They live under a caste system consisting of a queen, drones and workers.Their diet will include carrion (dead animals) ranging from insects, earthworms, spiders ticks, spiders and honeydew.
The workers form search parties and go out looking for food. The scent of of food may often lead them into you kitchen. They leave a trail marked by the hormone pheromone so other and can follow once they find food.
Getting rid of fire ants is often a challenge, as their nest may have one or more queens buried deep in their mound. A pest official will help you find their nest or mound and formulate the best approach on how to destroy the redants’ colony effectively.