Fun Fire Ant Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Apr 28, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
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Amazing fire ant facts for kids and adults to know more about these tiny beings.

Fire ants are named after their ability to inflict a burning sensation with their stings, there are over 200 species under the genus Solenopsis, but not all of them possess the ability to produce this effect after a sting, only 20 types of ants out of 200 species will sting viciously.

Out of the 20 species, the two most significant are the red imported fire ants and black imported fire ants.

Other ants may include Solenopsis saevissima, Solenopsis silvestrii, Solenopsis solenopsidis, Solenopsis xyloni, and Solenopsis geminata.

Certain features distinguish them from other insects, firstly their unique physical structure.

Fire ants consist of three major parts, antenna, propodeum, and pedicel. Secondly, fire ants have a unique nature, unlike other ants, which may bite and release acid on the surface of the wound, fire ants bite and then release an alkaloid toxin called solenopsin through their sting which produces an exceedingly burning sensation, hence their name.

These tiny insects are extremely aggressive and possess the potential to kill small animals with their sting, but they do help regulate pest populations.

Want to know more facts about fire ants? Keep on reading.

We have curated more interesting facts about army ants and thread-waisted wasps so please go and check them out.

Fire Ant Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Fire Ant?

Fire ants are a group of ants that cause a burning sensation after it stings. The two most remarkable of these species are the red imported fire ant and the black imported fire ant, which is largely found in the United States and can be distinguished based on their color.

What class of animal does a Fire Ant belong to?

There are almost 20 types of fire ants in the genus Solenopsis and class Insecta, they are chiefly vicious but help to restrain pests.

How many Fire Ants are there in the world?

These ants are found in abundance, particularly in the United States. It is assumed that the red imported fire ant entered the United States in 1930 from South America through importing, hence their name.

Where does a Fire Ant live?

Fire ants have a wide range and can be found all over the world. The red imported fire ant is found in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and many Asian countries. They live in fire ant mounds built by the worker ants.

What is a Fire Ant's habitat?

Fire ant colonies are present in the soil that is near a water source because it keeps helping to retain the moisture of the soil. The mound (nest) has a height of 16 in (40 cm) generally but it can be higher depending upon the soil.

The colonies have a queen, males or drones, and workers, the mounds have internal channels which enable the workers to forage.

Who do Fire Ants live with?

The colonies made by the ants consist of a queen, or sometimes multiple queens, whose sole purpose is to reproduce in the colony, the queen has wings that ultimately fall off.

The colony may consist of as many as 250,000 workers, the workers are further divided into three categories based on their size and the task they perform in the colony.

The males are responsible for inseminating the queen, after which the males are expelled from the colonies and eventually die outside the mounds.

How long does a Fire Ant live?

The lifespan of a queen can range from five to six years, meanwhile, if the queen dies the other sterile females cannot reproduce in the mounds, hence the workers may carry on their task but eventually, the colony will cease to exist.

How do they reproduce?

The queen is the largest of all and is responsible for reproduction, the drones mate with the queen, and the queen lays almost 1000 eggs per day.

What is their conservation status?

Fire ants are found in various parts of the world in ample proportion, therefore their conservation status is not listed and it is implied that there is no threat to their existence.

Fire Ant Fun Facts

What do Fire Ants look like?

Fire ants cause a burning sensation after it stings.

The body of the fire ant is divided into three distinct parts like all other insects, the head, chest, and abdomen. The imported fire ants are of two types, the red imported fire ants and the black imported fire ants.

Red imported fire ants have a body length of 0.09-0.2 in (0.2-0.5 cm) and the entire body is divided into two nodes of pedicle and propodeum which is unarmed and ten segmented antennas along with a two-segmented club.

The queen has a pair of wings which they eventually shed.

The red imported fire ants have a black abdomen and their body color can range from brown to red. Black imported fire ants on the other hand have a black-to-brown appearance.

How cute are they?

Fire ants bite badly, hence it is difficult to say they are particularly cute.

How do they communicate?

Ants generally use pheromones to communicate, also they do not have ears so they perceive vibrations with their legs.

How big is a Fire Ant?

These small creatures are known for their stings and have a body length of 0.09-0.2 in (0.2-0.5 cm), however, the queen is typically bigger than the rest of the ants.

How fast can a Fire Ant fly?

Fire ants are not flying species, yet some fire ants are born with wings, but the exact speed at which they fly is unknown.

How much does a Fire Ant weigh?

The weight of the fire ant is around 0.0006-0.003 oz (0.04-2.20 mg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The colonies of ants have innumerable members, which can be divided into three different classes, the queen, the males or drones, and the workers. The colony may have one queen primarily but sometimes even multiple queens.

Secondly, there are males, or drone, fire ants that mate with the queen and later die outside the nests. Then the colonies have worker ants whose fundamental work is to bring food and keep the colony clean.

What would you call a baby Fire Ant?

The queen is the largest in the colony and only a queen can reproduce. The queen can produce as many as 1000-1600 eggs per day. When the eggs hatch the newborns are called larvae.

What do they eat?

The major worker fire ants in the colony have undertaken the labor of bringing food, the key food source includes insects, invertebrates, meat, and sweet items. The nests of fire ants are in the soil and are not very far away from the water source so that the soil is moist.

Fire ants do not forage much above the ground as their nests have foraging tunnels, the worker ants utilize these tunnels to collect food for the colony.

Are they dangerous?

Fire ants live in colonies that consist of numerous ants, which can be dangerous to crops, livestock, and even people. They have the potential to survive natural disasters like floods but once they begin their invasion, it is best to contact an insecticide manufacturer.

Would they make a good pet?

Fire ants are an invasive species, although they can be beneficial for the regulation of certain pests yet it is risky to pet them without any purpose also their bites can be extremely painful.

Did you know...

The name ‘Alates’ refers to male and female fire ants who are born with wings.

Fire Ant Bites

The fire ant's sting is vicious as its venom contains piperidine alkaloids which can be found only in two genera of ants, the Solenopsis and the Monomorium.

In some cases, an individual can be vulnerable to anaphylactic shock as their venom also contains protein.

The fire ant bites first and then curves around to inject the stringer that is attached to their abdomen, upon injecting the venom which is followed by a burning sensation and red bumps which develop on the skin.

In most cases, white pustules may form which are sterile and can last from days to weeks, scratching them may lead to infection.

There are various treatments prescribed by doctors based on the extent of the wound caused by the ants, visit a doctor if the symptoms get worse.

Costs And Benefits Of Fire Ants

Fire Ants are an invasive species and cause potential damage to crops and livestock, over 5 billion dollars are invested each year for the damage caused by the Red Imported Fire Ants in the United States. However, ants are very effective in regulating insects, pests, and arthropods which can harm plantations like cotton and soybean.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including fairy moth facts and fairyfly facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable fire ant coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Deeti Gupta picture

Deeti GuptaBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

A detail-oriented fact-checker with a research-oriented approach. Devika has a passion for creative writing, she has been published on multiple digital publishing platforms and editorials before joining the Kidadl team. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St.Xavier's College, Deeti has won several accolades and writing competitions throughout her academic career.

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