The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), or simply RIFA, is one of over 280 species in the widespread genus Solenopsis. Although the red imported fire ant is native to South America, it has become a pest in the southern United States, Australia, Taiwan, Philippines, and the southern Chinese province ofGuangdong. There are also reports of ant hills in Macau, the former Portuguese enclave that borders the province of Guangdong. RIFA are known to have a strong, painful, and persistent irritating sting that often leaves a pustule on the skin.
In the 1930s, colonies were accidentally introduced into the United States through the seaport of Mobile, Alabama. Cargo ships from Brazil docking at Mobile unloaded goods infested with the ants. They have since spread from Alabama to almost every state of the American South, from Texas to Maryland. Since the 1990s, infestations have been reported in California in the West and New Mexico in the Southwest, but probably via ship or truck (rather than overland migration) in the case of California.
If you see any fire ants, or any ants or other pests, be sure to call us at 480-830-5333.