When fire ants came to texas - Natran Green Pest Control | Texas Botanical Pest Control (2023)

Fire Ants (also known as Imported Red Fire Ants or IRFA) are known for their reddish color and painful sting.

As a Texas resident, you've probably seen them crawling on the ground. Did you know, though, that fire ants weren't always prevalent in the Lonestar State?

Find out when they got here and what you can do if you find them on your property below.

When fire ants came to texas - Natran Green Pest Control | Texas Botanical Pest Control (1)

What are fire ants?

Fire ants are a distinctive dark reddish brown color and range from ⅛ to ⅜ of an inch in length.

They are most commonly found in the southern United States, including Texas, New Mexico and parts of California.

Fire ants build large nests (about 2 to 4 feet square) with flat, irregular shapes. They typically build nests in the ground near landscaping or structural foundations. They can also sneak into homes and buildings through the AC unit or HVAC system.

These ants usually find their way to new places through potted plants, trees, and bushes.

Many people assume that fire ants do damage by biting, but they actually do damage by stinging humans and other creatures that disturb their networks. They latch onto victims for stability, but then stick the stinger into the flesh and inject a toxin called solenopsin.

Their bites are quite painful and cause a welt that turns into a white pustule or blister. Some people with allergies have more severe reactions.

When did fire ants arrive in Texas?

Before there were imported red fire ants, there were imported black fire ants.

They arrived in the United States from South America more than 100 years ago,em 1918, most likely through shipments of soil. A little over a decade later, in the 1930s, the imported red ant appeared and quickly spread across 260 million acres in the southern United States.

About 20 years later, in the 1950s, fire ants reached Texas and continued west into New Mexico and California. Since they thrive in warm, humid climates, it makes sense that they would be comfortable in Texas and other parts of the southern United States.

Today, fire ants can be seen in most parts of Texas, although they are less common in drier parts of the state.

The effect of fire ants in Texas

Since their arrival and settlement in Texas, fire ants have causedserious problemsfor many of the other species in the state.

Like other imported species, fire ants have driven other creatures (mainly native ant species such as carpenter ants and sugar ants) from their habitats. Its highly aggressive nature has also harmed and even killed many animals, from songbirds to deer and cattle.

To make matters worse, fire ants crippled the Texas economy. Every year they cause about$1 billionin damages in Texas (and about $6 billion nationwide).

How do ants do so much damage?

They harm livestock and livestock and damage farmland (especially crops like corn, okra, and soybeans) and golf courses. Their mounds can also damage farm equipment and have the potential to short out electrical systems, which they tend to be attracted to.

What to do if you spot fire ants on your property

Most people, unfortunately, only realize they have fire ants on their property when they stumble across a nest (and when they do, they sometimes end up getting stung before they understand what's wrong).

If you see a nest of fire ants or fire ants crawling on the ground, do not touch them or their nest. Keep children and pets away from the area as well.

Then use the preferred method of two-step elimination, which involves baiting and soaking mounds.


The bait is used to kill the fire queen ant and other ants located at the bottom of the anthill. It usually involves using a granular insecticide, insect growth regulator, or both to kill pests and act as birth control for other ants in the colony.

Some people choose to bait individual mounds upon sighting them. Others prefer to spread the bait all over the yard in an attempt to more effectively combat medium to large infestations.

Most people see the best results from fire ant baits when the soil is dry, no watering is planned, and no rain is expected for at least two days. On hot days, it's best to wait until evening when the weather is a little cooler and the ants are foraging.

Drenching Hills

As the name suggests, mound drenching involves soaking the anthill in insecticide. This method helps to quickly eliminate individual ant colonies.

You can soak mounds using a hand sprayer and liquid insecticide, or pour granulated insecticide and water into the mound.

When to Call a Professional

In some cases, it's best to let a professional pest control company handle the fire ant problem on your property. Here are some situations where you should consider calling an expert:

You have severe infestations

If you've only seen a small or medium anthill on your property, you may be able to take care of the problem yourself and move on with your life. When you have multiple mounds, or if clean ones have made their way into your home, it may be time to get help from a professional.

Pest control technicians can perform a thorough inspection of your home and property, identifying any anthills and finding out how they are getting into your home (if applicable). They can also use more aggressive pest control products to get rid of the problem sooner and prevent it from getting worse.

You are not comfortable using traditional pesticides

Some people are uncomfortable with a DIY approach to pest control because they are not comfortable using the harsh echomail found in many traditional pest control products.

If you're worried about spraying your yard or house with toxic chemicals that could harm your children or pets, contact a pest control team that specifically uses natural, eco-friendly products.

There are many all-natural solutions that work just as well as traditional options, but won't harm your family.

Your DIY methods didn't work

Maybe your DIY strategy wasn't as effective as you'd hoped (don't feel bad; it happens to the best of us).

If you've tried to deal with fire ants on your own but haven't been able to get rid of them, look for professionals. They can provide solutions tailored to your needs and will help you see results faster.

You want to prevent future infestations

Pest control companies don't just react to today's pest infestations. They can also help you to prevent future ones from occurring. If you schedule recurring pest control treatments, you can prevent fire ants from returning to your property (and keep other pests at bay).

Preventive treatments give you peace of mind and save you from wasting time and money on DIY techniques that may or may not work. They also help you spot signs of potential problems sooner as you get regular check-ins from a pest control technician.

How to treat fire ant bites

If you or a loved one is stung by a fire ant, you should take immediate action. Most people don't have severe reactions to fire ant stings, but it's still important to clean and care for the wound.

Take the following steps to minimize damage and prevent further irritation:

  • Brush the ant or ants off your skin
  • Wash affected area with cold water and mild soap (do not rub too hard)
  • Take an oral antihistamine like Benadryl to reduce itching and other reactions
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream to further reduce itching and minimize rashes
  • Apply cold compresses to control pain, itching and swelling

If the above strategies don't work or you experience more severe symptoms, such as anaphylaxis (a severe whole-body reaction), you may need to see a doctor. They can recommend the following:

  • Oral corticosteroid medications (such as prednisone)
  • Prescription steroid creams/ointments
  • epinephrine injections
  • IV antihistamines

Some people also need antibiotics if the blisters burst and become infected.

Remember never to pop or break the bubbles on your own. Cover it with a bandage, if necessary, to protect it from bursting or tearing.

Get rid of fire ants with Natran Green Pest Control

Now that you know more about the history of fire ants, the problems they cause and how to combat them, you are better equipped to deal with them should they appear and start building nests on your property.

Keep the tips and guidelines discussed above in mind so that you can manage the problem, prevent future infestations, and prepare yourself and your family for a fire ant-free future.

If you decide you need professional pest control help (or are interested in preventative treatments), please contact us atContact usno Natran Green Pest Control.

We use safe, eco-friendly, non-toxic pest control solutions to get rid of fire ants and other pests without harming you, your kids or your pets. Contact us to learn more or schedule an inspection today!

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