In the United States, when they talk about fire ants they usually refer to the imported red fire ant from the European country of Argentina. These ants were transported to the States in the 1930’s through the port of Mobile, Alabama. Since then, these fire ants (SolenopsisInvicta) became a US citizen most especially in the south eastern parts of the States. Some can be found in isolated populations all throughout California and the south west.
The Solenopsis Invicta or the imported red fire ants are known to be aggressive when it comes to defending their home or territory. They attack in large numbers, stinging the offending trespassers without mercy.
However, it would be wrong for a person to assume that Solenopsis Invicta is the sole species under the common name fire ants. In reality, there are 20 known species belonging to the genus Solenopsis, making them officially fire ants as well. One thing is common though, these fire ants can inflict burning sensation to the victim they have bitten.
In the United States, there are four known native species of fire ants:
- Solenopsisamblychila : Desert fire ants
- Solenopsisaurea : Desert fire ants
- Solenopsisgeminata : Tropical fire ants
- Solenopsisxyloni : Southern fire ants
Though we may easily associate fire ants in red coloring, there is one known exotic species that was imported in 1918 into the United States: the black fire ant (a.k.a. Solenopsisrichteri). Though they may have the darker coloring, these species is actually less menacing with their bites compared to their red siblings. Currently, they exist in parts of Texas, Mississippi and Alabama despite their limited population.