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How to Manage Pests

Key to Identifying Common Household Ants

Southern fire ant workerSouthern Fire Ant

Identifying caracteristics

Southern fire ant characteristics


  • Feed on insects, sweet foods, grease, proteins, seeds, almonds, young tree bark, and honeydew
  • Active in the morning and early evening and do not trail
  • May swarm out of nests if disturbed and can inflict painful stings

Nest type and size

  • Nest in small mounds or in patches of loose soil near moisture
  • Flattened, irregular craters with one to many openings; located usually in warm, sunny areas
  • May be found in wood or under rocks and boards
  • Indoors, nest in wall voids, crawl spaces, and under carpets
  • Colonies very large with up to 10,000 individuals and multiple queens

See also, southern fire ant quick management tips.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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