Visible tiny red ants are most likely one of the roughly 200 species of fire ants belonging to the genus 'Solenopsis.' The small nuisance ants typically range from 1.6 to 5.0 millimeters in length.Continue Reading
Fire ants native to North America are most prevalent in the southern United States, from Florida to California and as far north as Oklahoma and Virginia. Preferring warm, sunny conditions, the ants are most common in and around dry fields, while avoiding woods and other shady areas.
Fire ants are very active and aggressive, and sting intruding animals and humans repeatedly. These ant stings contain alkaloid venom and are highly irritating to human skin, causing red bumps and an intense burning sensation.
Often visible after rainfall, nests appear in the ground as mounds roughly 18 centimeters high and 61 centimeters in diameter. Colonies may have up to 250,000 workers. Worker ants typically live up to 180 days, while queens may live two to six years.
The insects are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of plant and animal food sources. The fire ant's diet includes earthworms, insects, ticks, spiders, eggs, honeydew and other greasy foods, sweets and seeds. The ants also feast on carrion including dead birds, rodents and calves.Learn more about Ants
Some ants can survive under water for up to 14 days. Water temperature is the most-important determining factor in the time, with lower water temperatures facilitating longer survival times.Full Answer >
Fire ants prefer to build mounds in open, well-lit areas, such as parks and fields, although they can also be found in rotten logs and stumps in wooded areas. Some colonies will also develop under buildings.Full Answer >
Small black ants found in the United States are likely to be carpenter ants of the species Camponotus pennsylvanicus. They range in size from 1 to 2 centimeters and have a dull black body with white or yellow hairs on the abdomen. Workers are wingless while breeding males have wings.Full Answer >
Winged male ants and queen ants leave the nest to mate, and after mating, they lose their wings. The queen ant mates with several males during her mating period, and she stores the sperm in an internal sack near the end of her abdomen. The sperm does not move until the queen opens a valve that allows it to enter her reproductive tract and fertilize the eggs.Full Answer >