Aggressive Fire Ants Encroaching Kentucky

Aggressive Fire Ants Encroaching Kentucky

Fire ants have finally made their way into Kentucky. And if you aren’t the least bit alarmed, perhaps a crash course about how fire ants are one of the most painful stingers on the planet could enlighten you.

A fire ant’s bite is described as an “intense burning sensation” -- hence the name “fire ant” -- and is painful enough to be rated on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, right up there with some of the world’s nastiest wasps and the bees, if you’re so inclined to know.  The fire ant’s color ranges from brown to black to red, and can sometimes be a hybridized combination of those colors.

The queer, and perhaps more dangerous things about this type of ant is that, unlike most other ordinary ants who, if a human disturbs their ant mound, flee for safety, fire ants do not scatter or scurry away from human intrusion. Instead, they will move to attack and defend their mound, which is never good news for a human with low pain tolerance -- for these critters can truly inflict pain.

As of recent news, senior nursery inspector for the Kentucky Department of Entomology, Joe Collins, reports that individual mounds have been spotted; some on the west side of Kentucky Lake, and some at the Lake Barkley State Park, with most of the population located in the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) Recreation Area and a few outside the property.

According to Collins, the fire ants’ presence can be detrimental to ground nesting game but the situation is still far from becoming a major infestation.

Insecticides are an effective means to control the fire ant population. Since it is a federally protected land, the LBL is conducting an environmental assessment to identify and implement an effective means to control the fire ant population, and adhere to regulatory stipulations about what can and cannot be used on the premises at the same time. Some granular pesticides have been approved for some areas of LBL, and further plans are currently under development.

If you have identified the presence of fire ants in your area, contact your pest control experts immediately.