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The Origins of the Red Fire Ant

 

If you grew up in Florida, or anywhere else in the southern United States, then you’ve dealt with fire ants before. You’re having lunch in the park with your family, you’re laying on your side, when suddenly; you feel a burning sensation across your arm. To your dismay, you’re covered in red ants. You frantically jump up, brush off all the ants, but it’s too late. You’ve been bit, and now you have to deal with the hot, uncomfortable, lingering and burning feeling for the next couple of hours. We’ve all been in this situation before, and it’s no fun.

Whenever this happens, you may be wondering “why are these ants here?!” It turns out fire ants aren’t actually native to our country, It’s believed that fire ants were brought over to the United States from South America through shipping cargo. First showing up in Alabama, fire ants didn’t start tormenting local family picnics across America until the 1930’s. States that are especially effected by fire ants include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi and other nearby southern states.

Fire ants quickly transmitted across the United States, through various ways. Some include being transported by cars, semi-trucks and trains, red ants would crawl onto these vehicle as they traveled long distances. Once these vehicles reached their destinations, the fire ants would start building their nest in these new locations. Another natural way fire ants spread, is being transported by flood waters. Fire ants have very few natural enemies in the United States, making it even easier for them to raise their population.

Fire ants multiplied exponentially, they would even completely overtake other species of ants that were native to the United States. In the 1960’s and the 1970’s attempts were made to counteract the increasing red ant population with the large scale use of Insecticides, but to no avail, the fire ants persisted. The fire ants were just too strong at reproducing, and the issue was already too big of a scale to control. Fire ants were here to stay, to the dismay of outdoor lovers everywhere.

 

 

 

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