The Imported Fire Ant is the most aggressive fire ant for its sting and destruction of property. This ant is found from Southern Florida west to Texas and as far north as Virginia. The Imported Fire Ant has an omnivorous diet and opportunistic feeding habits, and they feed on any plant or animal they encounter. In heavy infestations coexisting species of ants, other invertebrates and vertebrates suffer and are sometimes eliminated. The Red Imported fire ant has been known to kill live stock, like cows out in a pasture.
The painful sting which they are able to inflict in unison after crawling up the legs of an unwitting victim is the basis of their reputation. The venom of the Red Imported Fire Ant contains piperidines, which cause a burning sensation, and proteins, which can cause life threatening anaphylactic shock in a small percentage of the population. The Red Imported Fire Ant is recognized by its body color which is an almost uniform dark reddish brown.
They are 1/8 to ¼ inch long and have a two segmented petiole and a stinger at the end of the gaster. The large mandibles and clypeus has three distinctive teeth on their robust body.