Impacts: Fire ants are very aggressive, eat voraciously,
reproduce extremely quickly, and have a very painful sting.
They eat seeds and move them out of their native habitat,
which can alter ecosystems and destroy agricultural crops.
They attack, kill, and eat the eggs and nestlings of several
species of birds, lizards, and turtles. Severely infested
areas can make it impossible to sit on the ground or even
stand still too long. In some areas, they have caused the
extinction of 40 percent of native insect species.
Fire ants cost the southern US more than $1 billion per year
in damage to livestock, public health and fire ant control.
It is estimated that fire ants cost homeowners $7.9 million
per year on medical treatments for stings, and $11.2 million
in structural damages.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture