Fire ants tend to be an aggressive insect that will sting causing very painful reactions. There are two types of fire ants which belong to the Solenopsis species. The first is a red, imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta and the second is the black imported fire ant, Solenopsis richteri. They were introduced into the United States at Mobile, Alabama about 40 years ago. Red fire ants are predominately seen in 14 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Worldwide locations include the Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the British and United States Virgin Islands, Antigua, and Trinidad, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and China.
The black fire ant is seen only in northern Alabama, northern Mississippi, and southern Tennessee.
Over the next decade, the fire and Solenopsis invicta is expected to spread to California and towards the Pacific coast nearing the Canadian border.
Fire ants do not need to be provoked to attack, and their venom is capable of causing a painful local reaction and, in some instances, result in life-threatening anaphylaxis.
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