Urban Impact


  • Stings uncomfortable
  • Fear of stings deter activities
  • Invasion of stored food or home


  • Reduced property values
  • Structural damage
  • Equipment (electrical) damage
  • Damage to lawns, ornamentals and gardens
  • Problems with pets (see domestic animals)
Fire ants causing damage to pavement
Ants invading a dwelling
  • Pesticide overuse
  • Expense and time with use of non-effective products
  • Expense and time for only temporary management
Transformer damaged by fire ants
Fire ants building nest around electric equipment

Agricultural Impact

Domestic Animals

  • Death
  • Blindness and veterinary expense
  • Decreased animal quality (reduces weight gain, crippled)
  • Damage to automatic feeding and watering equipment

Crop Economics

  • Damage to or removal of seeds
  • Damage to roots, tubers, stems, and fruits
  • Tend (i.e., protect) Homoptera (sucking insects)
  • Ants deter hand labor
  • Incompatible with other forms of biological control
  • Damage to irrigation systems
Ants drinking sap from a wounded leaf
Fire ants feeding on sap
  • Opting not to produce a crop/product due to fire ants
  • Expenses due to control measures
Exterminators walking grounds in protective clothing
Pest managers wearing protective clothing

Wildlife and Recreational Impact

  • Damage seeds and alter plant assemblages
  • Become dominate invertebrate predators
  • Reduce invertebrate fauna
  • Impact endangered species
  • Interfere with hunting and fishing
ants tearing open a plant to get to the seed
Fire ants damaging a seed
  • Reduce utilization of parks and recreation areas
  • Reduce tourism
A veterinarian examines a doe for damage
A veterinarian looking after a doe

Source: Vinson, S.B. 1997. Invasions of the Red Imported Fire Ant. Amer. Ent. 43(1): 23-39.
Courtesy of The Entomological Society of America