Managing Fire Ants In Urban Areas

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The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, the black imported fire ant, Solenopsis richteri Forel, and their hybrid are nuisance insects and their stings can cause serious medical problems. Imported fire ants interfere with outdoor activities and harm wildlife throughout the southern United States. Ant mounds are unsightly and may reduce land values. In some cases, imported fire ants are considered to be beneficial because they prey upon other arthropod pests. In urban areas, fire ants prey on flea larvae, chinch bugs, cockroach eggs, ticks and other pests. In many infested areas, the problems outweigh the benefits and controlling fire ants is highly desirable. However, eradication of these species is not currently feasible (see History of Control Efforts). When deciding whether or not to control fire ants, one must weigh the benefits of fire ant control against the cost and environmental impact of control methods.