Invasive species in Florida
5 Aug 13
The Red Imported Fire Ant is a major pest in urban landscapes including residential/ commercial lawns, sports fields, golf courses, parks and threaten households, agriculture and wildlife.
“Red imported fire ants threaten agriculture, wildlife and homes” Red imported fire ant bodies are reddish with shiny dark brown gaster and have a stinger. They have large eyes and three teeth on the front of the head. They have a ten segmented antennae with 2 segmented club and petiole with two nodes; no spine or thorax. Workers are polymorphic and differ in size, 1/16-to 1/5 inch long. Also extremely aggressive! They nest in mounds with multiple openings in soil or lawns, usually in open sunny areas near a water source. If undisturbed, mounds may reach up to eighteen inches high and twenty-four inches wide and they become dome shaped after two- three years. Nests are sometimes found in buildings, wall voids, crawl spaces, or under carpets. Large colonies can be up to 500,000 workers with multiple queens. Colonies may split and move to new locations. The red imported fire ants, also known as (RIFA) travel in distinct trails along foundations, sidewalks, patios, upside of buildings, along baseboards, and under edges of carpet. This invasive species is extremely aggressive, if disturbed they will swarm out of nests and attack in large numbers which will inflict a very painful sting. They feed on living insects, dead animals, and honeydew from honeydew producing insects. Since the introduction of red imported fire ants, it has become a major agricultural and urban pest throughout the southeastern states. In addition fire ants cause both medical and environmental harm. In agriculture, the RIFA frequently invades soybean crops and heavy infestations invariably yield few soybeans. Opportunistic feeding on the young tender...
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