FireAntEater™ Informational Article
RED IMPORTED FIRE ANTS vs. OTHERS
© 2012, 2013 FIREANTEATER LLC
www.fireanteater.com

Introduction
- There are many kinds of fire ants and other ants that, at first blush, appear similar to Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFAs – Fig. 1)). As a general rule, any ant, fire ant or otherwise, that is native to the geographic area is better left alone. Why? The presence of natural predators for which they are part of the food chain.

  • Natural Habitat
  • - The Imported Red Fire Ant (RIFA), generally considered the most problematic in the US and other places except South America, is such a problem because of the absence of natural predators. Fire ants, like other opportunistic organisms, achieve pest status when introduced into regions free of their natural biological enemies, such as parasites and pathogens. In Brazil, the RIFA is "just another ant" and not a serious pest. Still, the Brazilian name for the ant, "lava pé" (translated "wash feet") reflects its status as a nuisance to those not watching where they stand. Likewise, the native Texas fire ant is a minor nuisance there, but a major pest in India where it was inadvertently introduced. 

  • RIFAs vs. Other Fire Ants
  • - Fire ants include many opportunistic ant species of the genus Solenopsis. There are native and imported species. For example, the native Texas fire ant is very similar in appearance and character to the imported pest, but actually helps retard the spread of RIFAs and should be spared, if possible. Both native and imported fire ants are small, dark orange/brown ants with workers of various sizes that quickly mobilize and sting en mass when their mound is disturbed. Along the Mexican border of Texas and in West Texas, there are native fire ants that are difficult to distinguish from RIFAs (Fig. 2). However, if you can see four tiny teeth on the mandible or jaw of the fire ants, it is Solenopsis Invicta (RIFA). Native species possess three teeth.
  • - In East, Central and much of South Texas, the most common native fire ant is Solenopsis Geminata (Fig. 3) and can be distinguished from RIFAs without anatomical examination. The head of the largest workers of this fire ant species ants is conspicuously wider than its gaster (abdominal segments).

  • RIFAs vs. Other Ants
  • - The Texas red harvester ant (genus Pogonomyrmex- Fig. 4) is also known as the Texas red ant or "pogo." These industrious ants collect grass seeds and store them in underground granaries. In fact, they have been shown to reduce rodent numbers by competing with them for grass seeds. Pogos are eaten by "horny toads" and are so conspicuous that people usually notice them before getting stung. Fire ants tend to eliminate Pogos.

  • Fire Ant Killer Products
  • - When selecting a fire ant killer product, it is best to choose a product that can be applied very locally (i.e. to a specific mound or colony) as opposed to an entire area to avoid killing off native species and other insects which are beneficial to and part of the local environment.

  • Acknowledgement
  • - The National Science Teachers Association article “Fire Ants … Frequently Asked Questions” by the University of Texas at Austin -(http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~gilbert/research/fireants/faqans.html).

ADDEDUM
FireAntEater™ Products
© 2011, 2013 FIREANTEATER LLC

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  • FireAntEater™ - C1000
  • In travel mode                                      In operation
  • • FIREANTEATER LLC develops green, safe fire ant control products, Made in the USA, that kill fire ants. The patent- ed AntCrusher H-1000 uses no chemicals, liquid or bait to control fire ant colonies. Instead, it uses the naturally aggressive nature of the fire ant for protecting the colony, particularly the larvae near the ground surface, against them, by agitating them into a continuous attack on the unit. In the unit, they are rolled over and crushed. So many ants are crushed that the “health” (the ability of the colony to sustain itself) is compromised. It is completely green, safe and only the targeted fire ant colony is affected.  Moreover, it does not have to be replenished making it the most cost-effective fire ant control product available. The power source for this unit is a solar cell with auto-recharging batteries for reduced sunlight conditions. 

    • • FIREANTEATER LLC also has been granted a patent on a Fire Ant Killer product (C-1000) which, al- though tested and proven, is not yet in production.  The C-1000 forces steam from boiled tap water through an applicator and into the fire ant tunnel network of a single colony. The steam is at very low pressure (e.g.-.1 psi above atmospheric) so it will not destroy the tunnel network and will completely permeate the colony tunnel killing all the ants, including the queen(s) and larvae. The C-1000 was developed for com- mercial applications and is Green & Safe.