Red Imported Fire Ant
Pollen Type: Other
Cross-Reactivity: Other Fire Ants
HS Allergy Extract: Fire Ant, Red (S. invicta)
Genus/Species: Solenopsis invicta
Common Names: Fire Ant, RIFA
Distribution: Southern United States
Locations: Diverse habitats in warmer climates, including rainforests, disturbed areas, deserts, grasslands, roadsides, and buildings.
Description: The red imported fire ant exhibits polymorphism, with workers displaying diverse shapes and sizes. The ant’s colors are red and somewhat yellowish with a brown or black abdomen; males are entirely black. Colonies form large mounds up to 18 inches tall constructed from the soil without visible entrances because workers build tunnels and emerge far from the nest. Venom plays a crucial role in the ant’s life, serving as a means of capturing prey and defending the colony. The name ‘fire ant’ comes from the burning sensation caused by their bite. Most victims experience intense burning and swelling, followed by the formation of a blister that can persist for several days. However, 0.6% to 6.0% of people may experience anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be fatal if left untreated.