Photo credit: Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
An insect known for its painful sting and aggressive behavior. Black to reddish brown, they grow to 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length and are difficult to distinguish from native ant species.
Accidentally introduced in ship ballast in the 1930s.
They are found throughout the southeast, including all or parts of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, and Virginia.
In addition to stinging humans, imported fire ants are known to attack and sometimes kill newborn domestic animals, pets, and wildlife. They destroy seedling corn, soybeans and other crops. Imported fire ants build mounded nests that disrupt cultivation of fields and create eyesores in lawns.
In Virginia, imported fire ants are established in the Tidewater area, which is now under a quarantine prohibiting the movement of articles that may transport this species to uninfested parts of the state.