[CT Birds] Pest Watch: Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta)

Phil Asprelli aspr82 at sbcglobal.net
Wed Jan 9 18:10:08 EST 2008

The following is an excerpt from the Feb/Mar 2008 issue of Horticulture magazine
  Q & A column with Carol Reese, Ornamental Specialist, U of Tenn Extension:
  Native to southern Brazil, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) is thought to have arrived in Mobile, Alabama, sometime in the 1930s. Though once considered a problem only in the Gulf states, these ants have now spread north to Virginia and as far west as California and Oregon. Their conspicuous mounds are high enough to interfere with mowing and other landscape tasks. Furthermore, worker ants can deliver a painful sting, for which a small number of highly allergic people require immediate medical attention. In some locations fire ants have become so abundant that they have reduced populations of ground nesting birds.
  E.O. Wilson, who began his career studying fire ants, once quipped that the fire-ant control problem can be considered the Vietnam of entomology.-- Carol Reese
  The fire ant may or may not reach our area. Only time will tell.  But I wonder if they affect the bird populations of birds that migrate to our area. Any comments?
  Phil Asprelli

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