Red Ants are insects that belongs to family formicidae. They belong to genus Solenopsis. This genus have approximately 200 species of red ants. Red ants are classified into kingdom Animalia, phylum arthropoda, class insecta, order, hymenoptera, family formicidae and sub-family myrmicinae. Red ants live as colonies that are made of the queen, males and female workers. It is believed that red ants originated from northern Argentina, Alabama and southern Brazil before spreading westward in 1930. In Australia, red ants were first discovered at port of Brisbane and at Richlands.
A mature red ant has head, thorax and abdomen. The front end is red and has a brown, black o red rear end. It has three pairs of legs and an antennae. Ants habitant is often found in soil nests and also moist environments for instance edges of riverbanks. There are many species of ants that are red in color. Generally, people refer to them as red ants as they do not know their correct names. Red imported fire ant (RIFA) is most often referred to as the ‘red ant’.
* Big-headed ant
Belongs to pheidole species. This is type of red ant range from light brown to dark reddish brown. They prefer living outdoor in areas that are protected such as patio blocks, forests and under logs. It is rare to see this particular type of ant indoors.
They are active foragers and it is common to see the ant trails along foundations, sidewalks and under carpets. The region where they are likely to be found is in the United States. They feed on seeds, sweets, protein and insects.
* Carpenter ant
Carpenter ants are one of the largest ants. Though most of them are black in color, some carpenter species are red in color. Workers have large mandibles and can reside both indoors and outdoors usually in hollow wood, decaying and moist places.
Red carpenter ants builds types of nests for the parent colonies and satellite colonies. The satellite colonies is made up of pupae, older larvae and workers while the parent colonies is made up the queen, workers and her brood. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood rather they remove the wood debris and deposit it outside their nests. They feed on food eaten by the people for instance meats and sweets.
* Fire ants
They are reddish in color with size around 1.6 to 5 mm. Red fire ant colonies can grow to thousands invading large areas and this is one of the reason why they are dangerous. They are mostly found in warm and sunny conditions.
The fire ants also prefer dry fields and are more aggressive as compared to other ant species. They build their nets in mounds outdoor, near building foundations and in landscape. They primarily feed on vegetative materials but also feed on food.
Are red ants dangerous?
With over 16,000 species of ants in the world, they are those red ants that are harmful to humans and others are not. This are also very common pests in our houses and therefore, it is important to know if they are dangerous to us or not. People have tried many ways of getting rid of these pests but in most cases, they will still come back to your house especially if you are near vegetation.
Majority of red ants are intrinsically not harmful to the humans. This means that you can take it into your hand and all it will do is to scamper around but not bite you. However, red ants are most feared of the ants due to their painful bite.
Bites from red ants can be fatal especially if bitten by a large number of them. They inject venom into your body that can cause anaphylaxis to animals and humans beings. Red ants also kills small pets through their bite which introduces toxins into the body.
Red ants may also cause cross-contamination at your house. There are those ants that likes to feed on meat carcasses and when they come into your house, they may result into spreading germs in your food.
How to control red ants around your house
- Eliminate any stagnant water around your house. Usually, pests such as the termites, mosquitoes and ants may be attracted by moisture. For the case of red ants, they may be attracted by the vegetation growing around the stagnant water. To prevent these pests invading your house, ensure that the area around the house is free from any standing water.
- Ensure that your house do not have cracks on the floor. This is one route through which the ants may access your house. Ants have good sense of smell and they can be looking for food in your house and use the cracks to invade the house.
- The other way through which red ants can access your house is through tree branches and plant growing near your house. They will climb the branches to access the house as they search for food.
- Storing of building materials and firewood near your house should be discouraged as it attracts pests. Some pests feed on woods and in turn may attract ants that feeds on them. It is also a good place for them to build their nests and this may be dangerous especially when the nests are interfered with.
- The most highly used method of controlling red ants in the house is by use of pesticides. Manufacturers of pesticides are constantly researching on ways to improve their products and this is due to some of these pests becoming resistant to these drugs. However, this method will only discourage the pests against coming into your house and you have to be constantly using the pesticide. To ensure that this method is effective, it is important to incorporate other ways such as ensuring that the house is clean, no branches around the house and that the house is free of cracks. By doing this, accessibility of the house by the ants is greatly reduced.