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The bodies of fire ants are 2 to 6 mm long and like all insects’ bodies, are broken up into three sections: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen, with three pairs of legs and a pair of antennae.
Fire ants can be distinguished from other ants by their copper brown head and body with a darker abdomen. The worker ants are blackish to reddish. These different sizes of the ants can all exist in the same nest.


A typical fire ant colony produces large mounds in open areas, and feeds mostly on young plants, seeds, and sometimes crickets. Fire ants often attack small animals and can kill them. Unlike many other ants, which bite and then spray acid on the wound, fire ants only bite to get a grip and then sting (from the abdomen) and inject a toxic venom.
For humans, this is a painful sting, a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by fire and hence the name fire ants. Although fire ants do not typically seek out and attack the face, they are as likely to attack an exposed and vulnerable face as any other body part. The venom is both insecticidal and antibiotic.

Fire ants nest in the soil, often near moist areas, such as river banks, pond edges, watered lawns and highway edges. Usually the nest will not be visible as it will be built under objects such as timber, logs, rocks, pavers, bricks, etc. If there is no cover for nesting, dome-shaped mounds will be constructed, but this is usually only found in open spaces such as fields, parks and lawns. These mounds can reach heights of 40 cm (15.7 in).

Colonies are founded by small groups of queens or single queens. Even if only one queen survives, within a month or so the colony can expand to thousands of individuals. Some colonies may be polygynous (having multiple queens per nest).

Classes among Fire Ants


A queen is generally the largest individual in the colony. The primary function of the queen is reproduction; she may live for 6-7 years and produce up to 1,500 eggs per day. Many fire ant colonies will have more than one queen.


Mate with the queen ant in order to produce eggs.


The workers are sterile females who build and repair the nest, care for the young, defend the nest, and feed both young and adult ants. The worker ants also go find supplies to build the nest.


Fire Ants clumping together.
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A Fire Ant besides a Coin.
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A Fire Ant besides a Coin

Pavement Ants are taking care of their pupae – Photographed in Brampton – May 2010.
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Symptoms and first aid

The venom of a fire ant sting causes stinging and swells into a bump. This can cause much pain and irritation at times, especially when stung repeatedly by several at once. The bump often forms into a white pustule, which is at risk of becoming infected if scratched, however if left alone usually go down within a few days. The pustules are unattractive and uncomfortable while active and, if the sting sites become infected, can turn into scars.

Additionally, some people are allergic to the venom and, as with many allergies, may experience anaphylaxis, which requires emergency treatment. An antihistamine or topical corticosteroids may help reduce the itching.

First aid for fire ant bites includes external treatments and oral medicines.
External treatments: a topical steroid cream (hydrocortisone), or one containing aloe vera.
Oral medicines: antihistamines.

Patients who experience severe or life threatening allergic reactions to fire ant insect stings should visit a doctor or hospital immediately upon contact as these reactions can result in death. These more severe reactions include severe chest pain, nausea, severe sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling, or slurred speech.

Frequently asked Questions:

Where do you mostly find these ants inside a house ?

Most often these ants are found in large groups near where food scraps are found in or near kitchen. Other times these are found in great numbers where there may be some water leaks or condensation issues in a house.

Other companies are offering to spray and even that multiple applications. Why do you suggest to apply bait for Fire Ants extermination?

Not only it is a least intrusive choice, it is also an environmentally friendly and Green approach by Quest Pest Management. Also, it simply works best in most situations. If you have a case of an extremely high Fire Ants infestation, where there are thousands of these Pests, then Spraying first and doing a follow-up with bait may make sense.

What are the disadvantages of the Spray application for Fire Ants extermination?

Fire Ants would take shelter at the first signs of an insecticide spray being applied. Their traffic patterns would change and they may even move their nest to a newer location or establish another additional one. Point being that spraying insecticide would make Fire Ants take defensive measures that could be counter productive to the Fire Ants Pest Control enterprise.

What are the advantages of the Bait application for Fire Ants extermination?

Firstly, it works. Fire Ants are attracted to the palatability of the Bait matrix (the attractive and nutritious ingredients). The Fire Ants would love the carbohydrates and protein contents of the Bait. After Fire Ants have ingested this bait and the minute amount of insecticide hidden in it, they are considered to have a lethal dose in their system.

What is the difference between bait application provided by different companies. Why your bait application is superior to others?

Firstly, not all baits are created equal even by the same manufacturer. We use the products that work flawlessly and make no compromises. We move away from tools that Fire Ants have become resistant to and select from the most effective baits available for commercial applications. These products are only available to Licensed Pesticide Operators.

Is one treatment often enough to get rid of problem ?

From our experience, more than 90% cases of Fire Ants would be resolved by one bait application. If needed, we would provide with one follow-up treatment within the 7-months period, free of cost to our clients.

Do you use insecticide spray indoors at all ?

We do recommend to spray indoors in the few cases where the nest has been either exposed or is known and is accessible. For example, when during renovations contractors come across ants nest behind drywall, etc.

In most of the situations where the nest location is undetermined, it is better to use bait. The bait will be applied according to the current ant traffic patterns. These worker ants will not feed themselves on the bait, but they will take the bait to other classes of ants that would never leave the nest. That’s how the insecticide would be able to reach all members of the ant colony. That is how the problem is eradicated at it’s root level.

Our Extermination Technique for Fire Ants and its Advantages.

We prefer to utilize a commercially registered insecticide Bait application to exterminate all major species of Fire Ants.

Here are the key points:

  • Because broadcast application of Control Agents is avoided in Bait application, it results in less pollution and general hazard for people and pets. Hence, there is a lot less intrusion to the flow of life.
  • Fire Ants would be attracted to the bait and having consumed it, they would be impacted by it. The Fire Ants are least likely to be going into new areas to widen the area of the infestation.
  • Not only that the Fire Ants would be exterminated having consumed the bait but they would also prove to be a source of secondary poisoning for other Fire Ants.
  • This technique is cleaner in it’s application and safer for people and pets.
  • Client is not required to prepare the property in any way for the application process.
  • Client is not required to leave the property during nor after the application.

The Expected Results of Fire Ants Extermination and Outcome of the Treatment:

In about 3-5 weeks, all Fire Ants would have had the time and opportunity to feed on the bait. The bulk of Bait’s content is palatable food for Fire Ants but it also contains a small but lethal amount of active agent. It is this substance that eliminates Fire Ants.

Gradually all Fire Ants would become affected in all of their nesting areas. In about 3-5 weeks all Fire Ants would have expired. Most of the Fire Ants would have died behind the scene in their hidden nesting spaces. In cases of very high infestations, there may be dead Fire Ants found near the foraging areas.

When it comes to cleaning away the debris and remnants of Fire Ants, standard care should be taken. Try to avoid inhaling the dust and debris. Spray anti-bacterial cleaning agent to suppress the particles from becoming air borne. Then wipe them off with a disposable cleaning cloth. Use of cleaning gloves is recommended.

Our exterminators will inspect the structure for points of vulnerabilities that may facilitate future infestations or conditions that may be helping Fire Ants to flourish. It will be up to the owner to act on the recommendations.

At Quest Pest Management Inc., we have the highest success rate of complete elimination of Fire Ants with one treatment alone. 

Prior to carrying out treatment for Fire Ants, we will do an inspection or survey of the property to determine the extent and scope of the infestation. In doing so, we will also obtain information from people present on site.

Did you know about ants?

  • Ants will enslave other ants, keeping them captive and making them do work for the colony.
  • The total biomass of all the ants on Earth is roughly equal to the total biomass of all living humans on Earth.
  • Ants follow scent trails laid by scout ants to gather food.
  • Ants have two stomachs, one to hold food for themselves, and one for others. Sometimes you may see ants ‘kissing’ they are actually feeding each other from their social stomachs.
  • Ants are the main turners of the soil – even more significant than earthworms. Ants move an estimated 50 tons of soil annually in one square mile.
  • Ants have many sleep episodes in a day and are often quite lazy. While some ants sleep during the day other sleep in the night.
  • Ants are mostly preyed upon by none other than; but other ants.