Body Color: Dark Reddish-Brown
Many of the ants of this genus are called fire ants because their venom, injected by a stinger, causes intense irritation and may cause severe reactions in especially sensitive people. Fire ants are very active and aggressive, and may kill young wildlife or produce sores and nausea in humans. Workers are a dark brown in color and may be found in two basic sizes, called major and minor workers, which are 1/15 to ¼-inch long. Typical yards contain several mounds, and larger yards may contain several dozen. Each of these mounds can belong to a separate colony, or one colony may occupy several distinct mounds, which are connected by underground foraging tunnels. Large colonies can have up to 300-500,000 workers that forage over an area with a radius of over 100 yards. Fire ants are both predators and scavengers, attacking and killing other insects and small animals, or feeding on dead animals. They also feed on honeydew, certain parts of plants or plant secretions, and other sweet materials. Occasionally, this species will nest inside homes, especially in the winter under bathtubs (which often have access to bare soil through the slab, under the tub), next to hot water heaters or other sources of warmth.