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Houston Pests: Fire Ants and Stinging Ants

An image of a fire ant

There are two species of stinging and biting ants in Houston, fire ants and red harvester ants. These two species are similar in appearance and are are often mistaken for each other.

If you encounter stinging ants on your lawn, the easiest way to tell the difference between these two species is to look for their nests. Fire ants build large mounds that can be over a foot high over the entrance to their nests. Red harvester ants live in underground nests accessed through a hole and will often strip away vegetation around the entrance to their burrow.

Both species of stinging and biting ant in Houston should be taken very seriously. Their bites can be very painful and both fire ants and red harvester ants will swarm when they feel their nest is under threat. If you have problems with these ants in your yard, do not attempt to treat them yourself. Call in an experienced professional.

Fire Ants

Fire ants are small, red or reddish brown ants that build distinctive large, dome-shaped mounds. They prefer moist areas and will often nest near roadsides or highways. These ants are an invasive species that entered America in the 1930s and have since become firmly established across the entire Southeastern United Sates. They are very common in Houston and surrounding areas.

Fire ants are known for their aggressive behavior. They will swarm if their mound is disturbed in most any way. An attack by fire ants usually results in multiple bites, and an attack by a swarm can kill small animals.

Fire ants have a very painful bite that produces a sensation like burning, hence their name. When fire ants attack they latch their jaws into the skin of the attacker and spray venom into the wound. Because of this clinging bite, they can be very difficult to brush off while they are attacking.

How Do I Get Rid of Fire Ants?

Fire ants should be treated with caution. They may swarm and attack if they feel their mound is under threat. Even just approaching near the mound on foot may be enough to trigger a swarm. They are also very difficult to remove. Their burrows extend deep under ground over a large area, and the queen may be as far as 6 to 8 feet below the surface. Colonies can also have multiple queens, and unless all of these are eliminated the colony will quickly reestablish itself. Because of the danger and difficult of eliminating these pests, call in a pest control professional if you see fire ants on your lawn.

Red Harvester Ants

Red harvester ants are native to Texas and can be found in Houston and surrounding areas. Red harvester ants are usually light red in color and can be extremely damaging to lawns. They also have a powerful sting, and will swarm when they feel their nest is threatened. Their stings are painful and can even be lethal to small animals.

In addition to their painful sting, red harvester ants can also pose a significant threat to property. Red harvester ants nest underground, but they'll strip the ground above their nests of any vegetation to capture more of the sun's warmth. Because their nests can be up to 40 feet in diameter, a single colony can essentially destroy an entire lawn.

How Do I Get Rid of Red Harvester Ants?

Getting rid of red harvester ants involves getting rid of the queen. Baits and powders can sometimes work in getting rid of them, but calling in a professional to get deep into the colony and destroy the queen is the most effective way to rid your lawn of red harvester ants.

So wherever you live in Houston or any of the nearby communities, give us a call at 713-222-PEST (7378) and we can safely and effectively get rid of fire ants and red harvester ants on your property.

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