Welcome back to this week’s “dog-blog”, What’s Buggin” You? I’ve been barking about a lot of different subjects since I started this blog and I hope you have been learning a thing or two about the world of pest control and responsible pest control management; that is my intent. The next few weeks are important because I will be writing about various insects and other bugs that are beyond home wreckers and nuisance pests. No, this group of bugs is downright DANGEROUS to humans and other living things; living things like my cute little self.

An invasive species of ant known as the red imported fire ant (RIFA) is making its way across the Southern U.S., raising concern among residents in Florida, California and every other southern state in between. We reported on our facebook page that a RIFA mound was discovered in the West End of Richmond on the median of Ridgefield Parkway. RIFAs are aggressive and are known to swarm and sting humans and animals when their mound-like nests are disturbed. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages people to use caution should they encounter RIFAs in their homes or on their properties.

RIFAs were first found in Alabama in 1930 after they were brought into the country on cargo ships arriving from their native South America. Without natural predators in the U.S., the invasive species has thrived and expanded into at least 14 southern states. The small, reddish-brown ants are often found in landscaped areas, garages and near structural foundations. A single colony can contain 250,000 ants.

“Red imported fire ants are just one of more than 700 ant species found in the U.S., but are one of the most dangerous,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “Their painful sting can cause blisters of white pustules, infections, and severe allergic reactions. Due to these health risks, people should not attempt to control an infestation on their own. Instead, contact a licensed pest professional (I recommend Loyal Termite and Pest Control Ruff! Ruff!) if signs of a red imported fire ant colony are found near your home.

It is important to follow these tips in order to protect your family from RIFAs:

  • Seal cracks and holes around your home.
  • Wear protective, closed-toe shoes and long pants when in outdoor areas where fire ants may be present.
  • Frequently inspect your property for signs of infestation. Look for mound-like nests, paying special attention to yards and landscaped areas, patios, sidewalks, compost piles, under trees and around electrical equipment.
  • If a nest is found, do not disturb it. Contact Loyal!!

Now that you are educated about RIFAs; you can be a watchdog for your neighbors, family, and friends. I hope you got something out of this edition of What’s Buggin’ You?

If you have any questions, remember to call us, contact us on our website, or through social media. Until next time, this is Hunter, Loyal’s K-9 Termite Detective wishing you a happy week. I’ll bark at you later; Ruff! Ruff!

Red Imported Fire Ants – March through the South in Virginia

Serving the Henrico and Richmond VA area since 1960

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