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Red Imported Fire Ant

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Red Imported Fire Ant
Scientific Name:
Solenopsis invicta Buren, 1972 (ITIS)
Solenopsis wagneri Santschi (ITIS)
Common Name:
Red imported fire ant (RIFA)
Red Imported Fire Ant, Adult USDA, APHIS, Plant Protection and Quarantine Archives.


  • USDA. ARS. Tellus.

    Hunting for natural enemies of the red imported fire ant is paying off for Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists. Their latest discovery — a new virus found in fire ants from Argentina — has the potential of becoming a biological control agent against the red imported fire ants infesting the U.S.

  • eXtension.

    If a fire ant colony is flooded during a rainstorm or other high-water situation, the ants cling together and form a living raft that floats on the flood waters. Once the raft hits dry ground or a tree, rock, or other dry object, the ants can leave the water.

    Footage Shows Massive Colonies of Fire Ants Floating in Hurricane Florence Floodwaters (Sep 18, 2018)
    AOL News.
    Floodwaters will not drown fire ants. In the wake of Hurricane Florence, victims in the storm's path are being warned to avoid wading through dangerous floodwaters (in addition to other reasons and threats).

Native To:
Date of U.S. Introduction:
Probably between 1933 and 1945 (Jemal and Hugh-Jones 1993)
Means of Introduction:
Possibly introduced in ships' ballast (Fitzpatrick et al. 2007)
Can attack and cause painful stings on humans, pets, and livestock (Jemal and Hugh-Jones 1993)

Distribution/Maps/Survey Status




Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Red Imported Fire Ant.


USDA. APHIS. PPQ. CPHST. Identification Technology Program.

See also: Citrus Resource
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Galveston Bay Estuary Program; Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).

Federal Government

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.

International Government

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Australia).

State and Local Government

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Plant and Pest Services.
Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

Oregon Department of Agriculture.

See also: Pest Alerts for more pests
California Department of Food and Agriculture. Plant Health Division. Pest Detection/Emergency Projects Branch.


Auburn University (Alabama). College of Agriculture. Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.


Note: Educational partnership of more than 70 universities; provides local customized information (requires free registration)

University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.
Electronic Data Information Source - publication resources
Oklahoma State University. Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.
Note: Maps of potential range expansion for the red imported fire ant in Oklahoma and the United States
University of Tennessee Extension.
Mississippi State University. Extension Service.
University of Arkansas. Cooperative Extension Service.
See also: Urban Entomology/Pest Management in Arkansas for more factsheets
University of California. Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program.
Pest Notes are peer-reviewed scientific publications about specific pests or pest management topics, directed at California's home and landscape audiences.
North Carolina State University. Cooperative Extension.
Texas A&M University. Entomology.