Facts related to Fire Ants

Fire ants live in large colonies that consist of up to 250,000 worker ants. Fire ants are so called because of two reasons – first, they have a reddish appearance and second, they have a very painful sting. The pain caused by the sting is same as the pain caused by a fire burn and hence the name. These ants are extremely aggressive and anything that intrudes into their colonies are met with repeated stinging. As far as their nesting habits are concerned, these ants usually build their nests in ground. Many of these nests may have visible mounds above the ground with a diameter of around 61 centimeters. These mounds may rise up to 18 centimeters above ground. Workers create underground tunnels that can extend up to 25 feet away from the mound.

Though fire ants feed primarily on seeds and young plants, they are actually omnivores. They also feed on small animals and birds.  While talking of the feeding habit, it is important to say that these ants are extremely aggressive and can collectively kill small animals. Fire ants have a unique feature. The first time they bite not for spraying acid as other ants do. In fact, they bite to get a good grip on the skin and then they pull out a chemical compound known as Solenopsin from their stomach and inject it into their victims. This compound is actually alkaloid venom.  For most humans, a fire ant sting only causes terrible pain and then it subsides. However, those people who are allergic to the alkaloid venom can actually be threatened by severe effects.

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