Talk:Fire ant

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why I started the article[edit]

I initiated this article because the only other reference I could find on Wikipedia to fire ants was in User:FiReAntZ. (READER EDIT: Although a simple search for red imported fire ant would have revealed a vastly more accurate and useful information set than your own is so far. Please see the Wikipedia article in question and delete, modify or broaden this one to include ALL the fire ant species). And that information was not very much, or very good, in my opinion. I take a perverse pride in the fact that fire ants first came into the U.S. at Mobile, Alabama, my hometown. We always had fire ants around when I was growing up, and I have been stung many times. It is especially bad when a child or a pet happens to step in one of the mounds.

My article is based on things I already knew about fire ants, plus some facts gleaned from the Web (e.g., the scientific name). However, I do not consider it to be more than a cursory introduction to the topic. I hope that a biologist, entomologist, or agricultural expert will come along and supplement it with some serious scientific discussion. The experiments being done with phorid flies, which I alluded to but did not detail, are particularly interesting.

There are other species of red ants, by the way, including some that are native to the U.S. A discussion of these, their habits, their identification, their similarities to and differences from the imported fire ants, would also be in order.

- SteveSmith

See also the article, "ant." This was not written by me (I did add one paragraph), but it is a nice little piece.

Should I have lower-cased the "F" in "Fire ant" in my heading? If so, is it too late to change it? I'm still very new to the Wikipedia and am not sure of the style customs here.

Hey Steve, you don't need to justify the addition of an article such as "Fire ant". This is as much your encyclopia as it is mine or anyone else's. Fire away! maveric149

That said, this article could be better. It also has formatting issues; in particular a box that says "If bitten by a fire ant they must be treated by their doctors" which is protected or something, and needs to be removed. Also, S. geminata, the US native fire ant, now mostly displaced by S. invicta, redirects to this page and should have an article of its own (IMHO). Ants of the genus Pogonomyrmex are called 'fire ants' by some and this page should contain even more "see also", "see instead" and "disambiguation" information. I think that this "low-importance" article should be a general discussion of the name "fire ant" and its use, a general discussion of the kinds of ants called fire ants, and an aid to persons who want to look up the particular kind of ant that they know as a 'fire ant' (with detailed info in the separate articles for each species). As far as 'red ant' goes, though, that's a completely different issue. (talk) 18:13, 10 August 2011 (UTC) Eric[reply]
Let me note as well, that when you go to the 'Mid-importance' article Red imported fire ant the first thing you read is a cross reference to the "main article" i. e. the 'Low-importance' article here. This is a design issue, I suppose one could call it. (talk) 18:23, 10 August 2011 (UTC) Eric[reply]

Added link[edit]

I've added a link to a paper by a scientist who describes how phorid flies lay their eggs inside fire ants' heads, which eventually fall off! Great stuff, no? Would like to eventually paraphrase and incorporate directly into the article. Maybe someone else will ...? Also ... a belated thanks to the person who added the Australian info and link. I had heard about the outbreak there but didn't have the time to look it up/research it. -- SteveSmith

You're most welcome.

Hello, there is also an article here,, that might be useful. Thanks, Justin --Duboiju (talk) 16:34, 23 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]

National bias[edit]

I think this article is far too USA-centric. Btw, Fire Ants have made their way to other countries, such as New Zealand. (these comments posted by User:

Ohhhhh whine whine whine!!!!!! There is nothing preventing ANYBODY from ANYPLACE to reference fire ants in any non-USA country. Since the references so far ARE USA based with nary a mention of other countries perhaps that is proof that folks in non-USA countries are too lazy or simply don't care enough to add to this entry. The Mighty Obbop lambasted thine whining on Nov 4, 200668.13.191.153 04:25, 5 November 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Agree fully. It needs more details particularly about their natural ecology in their native area, which should go at the top of the page above any details about problems with the genus as an introduced pest - MPF 23:09, 1 January 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I am a fire ant specialist from Brazil, and I have been adding some information about the species to the webpage. The main thing about the article being US-centred is that most academic research is from that country, also it is where red imported fire ants (RIFA) are a major invasive pest (they are native and non-special in my country), and it is a large English-speaking country that uses EN Wiki. In Brazil, fire ant entries tend to be Brazil-centric, though there is nothing stopping non-Brazil people from adding to it. Thus, some National bias looks inevitable to me... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ofoxofox (talkcontribs) 12:09, 25 June 2019 (UTC)[reply]


Unless fire ants are in some way very different from other ants, they don't sting. They bite and then spray some nasty chemical on the wound. DirkvdM 09:59, 16 January 2006 (UTC)[reply]

No reaction so far, so I've changed it. DirkvdM 11:21, 25 January 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Not true. Actually they bite to get a good grip to better insert their stinger. But it is a true sting, from the abdomen.Pollinator 21:39, 25 January 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Ah, I've found sources on this: [1] point 43 and [2]. Those were among the first google results, so I'll buy this. :) DirkvdM 08:19, 2 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]

A lot of species of ant have stingers. Yes, fire ants are vicious stingers. A source that might interest others here on stinging vs. non-stinging ants is [1] Ofoxofox


  1. ^ Touchard, Axel; Aili, Samira; Fox, Eduardo; Escoubas, Pierre; Orivel, Jérôme; Nicholson, Graham; Dejean, Alain (20 January 2016). "The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms". Toxins. 8 (1): 30. doi:10.3390/toxins8010030.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: unflagged free DOI (link)


Is the stuff under "Organic control" really appropriate for this articel? I especially contend the phrasing's inappropirate. 06:48, 14 March 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I actually just logged onto this page for the express reason of seeing if boiling water actually does work for fireants. User Zanter. Although the phrasing could be improved. 10:25, 22 April 2006

Question for those with experience with ant farms.[edit]

I just dug up a good amount of a Solenopsis Invicta nest from near my house (With eggs, pupa, workers, soldiers and all), and put it in an aquarium-style glass container for use as an ant farm (And yes, I know they're mean and dangerous... I know how to handle them). They seem to be fine now, but the problem is, I didn't see any alates, or a queen... If I didn't get them with the nest-dirt I dug up, could they produce a second queen from their existing brood, or might the nest pretty much be doomed to death? I didn't get a good chance to look at what at all I got in with the dirt I put in the container (Since my eyes were on my gloves to make sure there were no ants crawling on them as I was trasporting it to my backyard, and I covered the nest-dirt with loose soil shortly after), so it's possible I got the queen, and the ants are continuing to forage and dig their nest in their new location, so I assume if there was no queen in with them, they wouldn't bother. Thanks to anyone who can answer this question. I hope all of my work was not in vain.

Ants vs. Flies[edit]

I reverted an edit that said flies are an enemy of ants since the edit said the flies bother the ants, the ants lose interest in food, and die. A little less believable than the research noted by SteveSmith above. MeekMark 14:47, 12 May 2006 (UTC)[reply]

"Icky looking"?[edit]

The article included a line that said that fire ant bites are "icky looking". While it's indisputible that fire ant bites are unattractive, the phrase "icky looking" is not appropriate for any encyclopedia. I have changed it to "unattractive and uncomfortable".

Thanks! There was a similar edit earlier by the same user but not quite as colloquial as this one. Good edit. MeekMark 04:24, 23 May 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Fire ants[edit]

But I don't think that there are the only species called "fire ants"? Wasmannia species are also called by that name: Fournier D, Estoup A, Orivel J, et al. (2005). "Clonal reproduction by males and females in the little fire ant". Nature 435: 1230–34. DOI:10.1038/nature03705 --Gak 09:07, 21 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]

A search for the genus Solenopsis immediately redirects to the page "Fire ant", but at least one source would argue that this isn't entirely true. " is a relief to find that the vast majority of the roughly two hundred species comprising the animal genus Solenopsis are not fire ants at all. They are smaller, inconsipcuous creatures, many of them known as "thief ants" for their habits of nesting near or within the colonies of other ants and for taking food from the stores of their hosts." Taber, S.W. 2000. Fire Ants. Texas A&M University Press, College Station. page 13 of the introduction. The author goes on to say that a complete description of Solenopsis is a big problem and has been debated for years. He describes only 18-20 species as true fire ants: Solenopsis invicta S. aurea S. geminata S. richteri S. xyloni and the following endemic to South America as of the 2000 publication S. brusei S. daguerrei [this species is certainly no longer endemic] S. electra S. gayi S. interrupta S. macdonaghi S. megergates S. pusillignis S. pythia S. quinquecuspis S. saevissima S. weyrauchi

he is unclear about the distribution of RIFA and BIFA hybrids, as well as TFA and SFA hybrids, so I have left these out.

S. hostilis and S. solenopsidis both by his admonition needed further study to determine if they were fire ants or not.

Any further discussion by someone more familiar than me would be helpful, but otherwise Fire Ants should possibly be made a page distinct from Solenopsis. I don't know how to suggest this and at the moment I SHOULD be writing a paper so I will leave that for others, or for a future time. Nightswatch 06:37, 5 December 2006 (UTC)[reply]


Solenopsis redirects to this article, making this the article on the entire genus. It should therefore be expanded with information on the species under it (or else the Solenopsis article should be expanded, which might be a better idea). RJFJR 23:09, 9 July 2006 (UTC)[reply]

This was left by a annon in the article[edit]

(READER EDIT: A Wikipedia search for red imported fire ant would have revealed a vastly more accurate and useful information set than your own is so far. Please see the Wikipedia article in question and delete, modify or broaden this one to include ALL the fire ant species).

--ZeWrestler Talk 16:04, 22 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Other names[edit]

"In Spanish, fire ants are known as hormiga colorada (red ant) or hormiga brava (surly ant).

In Spanish "hormiga colorada" means "colored ant" and hormiga brava means "brave ant".

Anyone else think this section is rather useless? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:38, 17 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I ran across an image with the title "Hormiga de fuego" which seems Spanish for Fire Ant. (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 17:16, 15 September 2008 (UTC).[reply]

Actually, in context, "hormiga colorada" translates as "red ant" (not "colored ant") and hormiga brava means something more like "fierce ant" or "rough ant" rather than "brave ant". Anyway, it's correctly stated on the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:03, 21 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Fire Ants Causing Deaths[edit]

How often could a fireant kill someone? I'm deadly allergic to them but I don't know of anyone else whom has a problem with them. Also, what states are they native to? I know they're definitely in Houston, TX as well as surrounding states, but I don't really know of any other places. --Sharpay Evans 06:56, 25 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]

They are prevelant in Florida as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:07, 10 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

First aid[edit]

The treatment section on this is worded very poorly - the internal treatments make it sound like you should blend all of the above together. Used to have ammonia and bleach right next to each other - this is a very dangerous combination and poor wording shouldn't be the cause of someone poisoning themselves so I've removed ammonia from the list until this can be reworded.

Jesse Crouch 03:28, 13 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]


Is there any research indicating that the fire (red) ant exoskeleton is tougher than many other ant species? I haven't seen any, but from VERY painful personal experience, I know that the things are danged difficult to crush and kill, while I've killed other types of ants accidentally by touching them a tad too hard. If you've ever pulled a fire ant off your ankle and tried to inflict some retaliatory misery, you know what I'm talking about. You squeeze the mean little bugger between a thumb and forefinger with enough pressure to turn Kingsford charcoal into a diamond, open your fingers, and the ant is still there, alive and really ticked off.

Has anyone seen any research on this subject? If they are indeed a partictularly tough species of ant, I think it warrants mention in the article.

Helenabucket (talk) 21:34, 11 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]

I've crushed 'em just fine. (talk) 05:47, 23 July 2013 (UTC)[reply]


This article has a lot of general information about ants that is already wonderfully displayed on ant. This article should only contain information on how fire ants are different and unique from other ants.--FUNKAMATIC (talk) 01:58, 30 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Why is this page not merged with this one?

Also, this paragraph is nonsense and needs to be deleted: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jonahb52 (talkcontribs) 20:09, 20 May 2009 (UTC)[reply]

male fire ants seems wrong - citation please[edit]

Can someone put up a citation requirement? (or find the info) As a new user I don't want to overstep. the article claims male fire ants are capable of defending the nest when attacked. This is not usual ant behavior - males are born shortly before mating & die shortly after. Is there any proof that fire ants are so radically different? Kea2 (talk) 11:33, 14 June 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Klang Valley "fire ants"[edit]

The "fire ants" from Klang Valley are weaver ants, not fire ants; also, they are spread through South-East Asia and Australia, not just Klang Valley. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dnwq (talkcontribs) 07:27, 18 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

I added a note at the beginning of the article to prevent people from making that mistake in the future. It's an extremely common misnomer among English speakers in Malaysia because one of the common names for weaver ants in Malay is "semut api", which literally means "fire ant".

If it's not OK to put that kind of note in the intro paragraph of an article please retain it somewhere else in the article, to prevent people from messing this up in the future. Xenobiologista (talk) 17:36, 13 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]


Is it REALLY necessary to try and list all 280 species of fire ants in two columns, and try and make a separate article for every single one of them? The list as it is, is almost longer than the written information. This is an encyclopedia. I came here to see the average number of ants in a typical colony, and I see an unnecessary long list of species instead? Colonel Marksman (talk) 22:43, 7 January 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Old page history[edit]

Some old page history of a version of this page from early 2004 can be found at Talk:Fire ant/History. Graham87 13:59, 26 January 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Section: Natural predators[edit]

It's currently copied from (or has been copied to, I've yet to verify) the section "Control of fire ants" in Phoridae, without any wiki links. I was about to wiki it, myself, and turn the first 'sentence' ("Phorid flies.") into a proper sentence when I noticed the exact word-for-word copy. Instead of just wikifying it / cleaning it up, I think the whole thing should be rewritten. I'd be bold and do it myself ;) but I'm not really sure how to reword it without parts of it getting lost in translation paraphrasing. -pinkgothic (talk) 20:33, 6 February 2009 (UTC)[reply]

You Know Why they Do It?[edit]

Can you responsibly say that "Males mate with the queen ant for the purpose of producing eggs"? I doubt that. It implies more consciousness about sexual behavior than even humans have. I would wager they just enjoy sex. Heterosexual chauvenism dictates a glorified purpose in opposite-sex rutting and grunting, no matter what the species, fine-- but that's not science. CAP'M —Preceding unsigned comment added by Capmpariah (talkcontribs) 09:50, 28 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Get over yourself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:48, 12 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]

haha, yeah maybe they do it because they like it and babies are the consequence, eh -- 17:28, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Solenopsis vs Fire ant[edit]

Is it a article on Solenopsis or on the Fire ants?. S. molesta is not considered fire ant by any standard. Actually they have a different wikipedia page for thief ants. Let's clear up this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:55, 12 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Absolutely needs to be clarified. The vast majority of Solenopsis are not considered 'fire ants.' (Many Solenopsis are called 'thief ants' and dwell in other ants' nests). The distinction is vague in the literature, but fire ants may be loosely characterized by their aggressive swarming behavior, and make up only a handful of the Solenopsis species.. See the book Fire Ants by Stephen Welton Taber for a discussion of the subject.

HE HE firey ants —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:30, 30 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]

The article also conflates fire ants (as in a set of species within Solenopsis) with fire ants as in the red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). There's not even a link to S. invicta, which means most people looking up these guys will wind up on this article and no farther. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:19, 24 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]


Can somebody please explain to me why the fire ants in one of the pictures have wings...? (talk) 19:02, 21 March 2011 (UTC) I mean, I have just never seen a fire ant with wings... (talk) 19:05, 21 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Wings are perfectly normal for unmated queens and males. Dig up a fire ant (Solenopsis invicta or S. geminata) nest in the fall and you will see them. You may also have seen the around lights at night after the mating flight and not known it. Speaking from Austin, TX. (talk) 17:51, 10 August 2011 (UTC) Eric[reply]

Incorrect picture[edit]

In that photo with the ants on the grasshopper those are definitely not fire ants. Looking back through the page history they've even been labeled as non-fire ants for over a year? (Not sure they're Forelius either, but...) I'd take it down myself but I am fairly wiki-illiterate. FYI, I guess. (talk) 04:41, 3 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Name of ant venom[edit]

The article lists Insolence ( the ant venom. This is incorrect. The actual venom is probably Solenopsin ( and most certainly not some nu metal band from San Jose. This appears to be an act of vandalism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:57, 18 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The venom has no name: it is a cocktail of compounds with different names. Solenopsin is but a major class of alkaloids which is abundant (>90%) in the fire ant venom. See here [1] I have been editing the main article slowly, so this part might have improved a bit. by Ofoxofox


  1. ^ Touchard, Axel; Aili, Samira; Fox, Eduardo; Escoubas, Pierre; Orivel, Jérôme; Nicholson, Graham; Dejean, Alain (20 January 2016). "The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms". Toxins. 8 (1): 30. doi:10.3390/toxins8010030.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: unflagged free DOI (link)

Aggressive Behaviour in Response to Threats[edit]

There's fire ants where I live, and I've noticed that if the soldier ants are alerted to the presence of a threat they will stand on their hind legs, snap their mandibles, thrust their abdomen, and flail their first two pairs of legs. Any consensus for this behaviour? (talk) 05:44, 23 July 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Bold and P'd off[edit]

There have been a number of remarks and updates, lergely either correct or at least reasonable. This article is a crying example of why common names need not and should not be used as article headings except in special cases, and in such special cases the reason should be carefully documented and justified. As repeatedly noted, Fire ant NOT= Solenopsis. I have made some corrections and edits, but as soon as I remember I shall split the article and put the bulk of this article into Solenopsis (ant) and edit the Fire ant article appropriately into a paragraph or so (or more if I decide that the species group relevant to pest status should be discussed there. Likely, and I am open to negotiation, but haven't yet decided.)

Meanwhile, anyone with views please see what I have done. It is mostly pretty sundry, the sundriest, arbitrariest, hurriedest butchery you are likely to see anytime soon. I have cut the species list down drastically, removing the nonsensical statement that the list there presented contained all species. (Someone, (dunno who) needs to study a bit of taxonomy before making such claims!) I included only those species that I could find articles for, and included a link to a dedicated check-list. I could have imported the list of course, but the linked address shows signs of being maintained. BRW, I have no objection to red-links, but not when they are only there to look futile. There is no current indication that anyone is likely to write 250++ articles on the species I removed, or maintain the list to match the accepted check lists.

Comments? JonRichfield (talk) 08:39, 21 December 2013 (UTC)[reply]


I have added a ref improve template so editors can easily help with the much needed references to make this article reliable. I'll be adding them too so the template may just stay here for a very short time, but I thought it'd be necessary to add it. Existing references will be improved in layout for more reliability and easy search in case links die, and paragraphs will be redone to make it look better. Burklemore1 (talk) 04:12, 30 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Behavior: "do not hibernate"[edit]

The section on behavior states that they "do not hibernate." Of course they don't. Biologically, hibernation implies the organism is an endotherm, which ants are not. If this should be mentioned, then some other form of dormancy applicable to ectotherms should be used. SlowJog (talk) 13:57, 6 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Fire ant. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

This message was posted before February 2018. After February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{source check}} (last update: 18 January 2022).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 06:29, 1 October 2017 (UTC)[reply]

"In popular culture" section?[edit]

Someone has added that fire ants are known as "spicy boys", which is a joke in the internet community. I do not believe this should be in the introduction of the article, but it could be added in a "In popular culture" section. It does have some reliable sources, such as this 2016 The Independent piece, and an entry in Know Your Meme. Surely there are other pieces of information that would fit in this new section to the article. Mateussf (talk) 02:40, 17 June 2019 (UTC)[reply]

tell me habitat[edit]

tell me habitat i need habitat for school tell me habitat tell me habitattell me habitat — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bruh69bruh (talkcontribs) 19:40, 14 March 2021 (UTC) [reply]

but do "most of their common names" really reflect "this"???[edit]

hello, this wont take long.. the article says: "Solenopsis are stinging ants, and most of their common names reflect this, for example, ginger ants and tropical fire ants."

my question is: how are the common names "ginger ants" and "tropical fire ants" examples of common names that reflect the fact that "solenopsis are stinging ants"???

when i hear ginger i hardly think of a "sting"... tropical fire is a little bit better, but it still doesnt really reflect anything that has to do with "stings", "stinging", or "stinging ants"...

the way it reads just doesnt sound or feel right, perhaps that little blurb would be better left out? Snarevox (talk) 19:06, 24 October 2022 (UTC)[reply]