Red Fire Ants
The South American Fire Ant is an insect originally from the continent of South America that can grow to be anywhere between two and seven millimeters long. The South American Fire Ant, or the Red Fire Ant, usually has a reddish brown body, with a darker brown abdomen. The Red Ant feeds on a wide variety of foods, which includes, but is not limited to, plants, seeds, and small animals such as lizards and even birds (Dehkan). They originally entered the U.S. through Mobile Alabama by the ballast waters of ships docked at the port there (Dehkan). Red Fire Ants like to build their nest in moist dirt, which leads them to build near rivers, streams, well watered lawns and near roads and interstates. They are known to be extremely aggressive, and are willing to attack anything that disturbs or even comes near their nests, which can be up to 24 inches high.
The Red Fire Ant inhabits a wide range of territory. In the United States alone, they are known to be in Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and California (www.desertmuseum.com), and have migrated unchecked due to the lack of a natural predator (Dehkan). Their range is constantly changing due to changing weather patterns. As summer comes on, they move north, and as winter sets in, they move back south towards Mexico. (www.desertmuseum.com)
The introduction of the Red Fire Ant has had large economic repercussions, and has also affected other species in inhabited areas. The U.S. spends billions of dollars a year in repairing state industrial and agricultural equipment damaged by Red Fire Ants mounds (www.desertmuseum.com). Though many different species are highly affected by this particular species of ant, humans are possibly the most affected of them all. Many colonies like to build their mounds in the well-watered grass found in neighborhood lawns, which in...