The most common ant you will encounter will be small, black, and come with a mild string. Fire ants are larger, their color is a red and black combination, and they come with a much more intense sting. This is because when most ants attack, they will bite their perceived threat and then spray acid on the wound. However, with fire ants, you will notice they only bite in order to get a grip on the target and then will sting directly from their abdomen. Fire ant stings are much more intense and come directly from the abdomen. When a fire ant stings you, they inject a toxic venom known as solenopsin. The sting is powerful and typically will leave behind a swollen, white, welt. Additionally, fire ants emerge from their nests aggressive and energetic. These ants will crawl up vertical surfaces, including your legs, biting and stinging at the same time.
Fire Ant Mounds
Ants in general are very social insects that crave working as a collective. Fire ants are known to build nests, also known as mounds, by tunneling into the earth while pushing soil up. Fire ants are adaptable and can make a nest in nearly any type of soil. However, it is their preference to be in an open and sunny area. As with many other insects, ants will be more active in warmer weather and climates, such as the one in Houston. In the surrounding communities of Houston, you can expect to encounter fire ants any time of the year.
Fire Ant Life Cycle
Much like other ants, queen fire ants will lay eggs which eventually will hatch small worm-like larvae. These larvae will undergo the following four stages of development before finally maturing into an adult ant:
Egg: Once fertilization has taken place, a queen fire ant will lay somewhere around a dozen eggs. These eggs will hatch within 10 days.
Larve: Once the eggs have hatched the ants will look similar to grubs and will be completely dependent on their mothers.
Molting Into Pupae: In this stage the pupae will be white in color and still unable to move around freely. However, in this stage it will begin to resemble an adult ant.
Adult Ant: Somewhere between 20 to 25 days, the ants will become adults. In this stage they will gain full mobility and experience their final color change.