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Red imported fire ants


Stamping Out Fire Ants

Fire ants are a menace to humans, animals, and agriculture. They reduce crop yields, injure livestock, damage farm and electrical equipment, and put human lives at risk when stung, from allergic reactions to their venom. Fire ants currently infest about 350 million acres, with up to 60 colonies per acre and each colony can have more than 200,000 workers. They reproduce during mating flights that distribute millions of new queens several times a year; this makes eradication nearly impossible. Fortunately, researchers from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are working on a variety of innovative, diverse strategies to control the spread of fire ants. Learn more below:

Fire Ant Control Research Projects

Dampening the Spread of Fire Ants

ARS researchers are working on biocontrol methods that suppress the ants and make them less competitive with other, local ant species. 


Improving Fire Ant Bait

Recent studies show that the venom found in fire ant's digestive systems could be a key ingredient to solve fire ant bait issues.


Using Fire Ants to Fight the Sugarcane Borer

ARS researchers are using fire ants as biocontrol to help save sugarcane fields from the sugarcane borer.

Sharing is Caring with Fire Ant Venom

ARS scientists discovered a new way that fire ants use their venom to prevent diseases in their colonies.

Fire Ants and Other Burning Problems

ARS scientists are working to reduce the toll fire ants have been taking.

New Enviro-Safe Technology

ARS scientists recently discovered a new technology that is safer than pesticides to control fire ants and keep them away. 

Natural Enemies Close In on Fire Ants

Hunting for natural enemies of the red imported fire ant is paying off.

A Field Kit for Fire Ants

ARS researchers and APHIS colleagues developed a new test that quickly identifies red imported fire ants.

Could Fire Ants Be Useful as a Biocontrol?