If you are seeing tiny, reddish colored ants around your property, you may have a fire ant infestation. Eastern European fire ants were first introduced to Maine from Northern Europe via shipments of plant material. Today, homeowners must watch out for these small but mighty insects that pack a powerful sting. To help you and your family learn more about European fire ants, the Maine pest control professionals at Modern Pest Services would like answer some of the commonly asked questions about fire ants in the area.
How do I identify fire ants?
European fire ants are tiny, only about 1/16 to 1/4 of an inch in size. They vary in color but are generally an orange or reddish-brown color with the heads being slightly darker.
Where are fire ants likely to be found?
During the summer months, fire ants prefer a moist, humid environment which is no wonder why they thrive in Maine! You may find fire ant nests in decaying logs, under rocks, leaves, in the soil, in plant pots, or even in clumps of grass. In other words, your lawn and landscape is an ideal location for fire ants to form their colonies. Fire ants are particularly problematic in mid-coast Maine.
Why are they dangerous?
Contrary to the belief of some, fire ants do not bite but rather sting. If their nest is disturbed, the ants will become aggressive and attack in large numbers. Their stings are quite painful and leave a strong burning sensation accompanied by inflammation and red welts for some. There have been allergic reactions reported.
How can I get rid of them?
At Modern, we offer a European Fire Ant Protection Program that includes inspection of the area, identification of the ants, and treatments to help control fire ants on your property. Since fire ants have no known predators, they are a hard pest to control so treatments should always be done by a pest control professional
How do I prevent fire ants?
- Try to eliminate their ideal nesting sites (listed above)
- Keep your lawn mowed short to prevent ants nesting in grass clumps
- Inspect plants, flowers and other landscaping materials before you place them in your yard