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Avoiding Imported Fire Ants


Where are they?

Found in densities ranging from 20-800 mounds per acre, imported fire ants are expected eventually to colonize at least 25% of the continental United States, their spread tempered by cold weather sensitivity.

How do they spread?

Scientists have identified four major ways:
1) Transport in nursery root stock or in soil used in construction.
2) Reproductive forms with wings fly or are blown to new areas after mating.
3) Fertile winged queens may land in trucks or open containers and be transported to new breeding areas. Colonies may contain a single queen or up to 3,000 and all queens must be destroyed to eradicate a colony.
4) Colonies may form rafts during heavy rains and float to new locations. If necessary, the ants can survive long periods of submersion in water, reviving completely when dried out.

How do I protect myself in fire ant country?

If you must be in an area infested by Imported Fire Ants, wear high rubber boots and rubber gloves, dusted on the outside with talcum powder.

What if I get stung?

Apply a 1:1 solution, water:bleach to the sting site as soon as possible. Do not scratch any resulting pustules as they may become infected. The pustule will eventually dry up and leave only a temporary scar.

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