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Red Imported Fire Ant


Small, polymorphic ant with a dark red head and body and shiny, blackish red abdomen. Its nests look like mounded, crumbling soil, often arising after rains. 

Range and Habitat

South American in origin. Likely introduced to the United States through the Port of Mobile, Alabama, in the 1930s. Found statewide in all habitats, especially disturbed areas. Does not tolerate high heat when combined with dry environmental conditions.


May have colonies of single queens or multiple queens, which greatly hinders effective control measures. Has been implicated in the decline of several native species of vertebrates and invertebrates through direct predation and from competition for resources. Forage mostly underground to prevent dessication in hot, dry air. Readily bites and inflicts painful stings.

Population Status

Highly invasive; status is secure throughout its range.