Red Imported Fire Ants “RIFA” Can be Dangerous

Ants are one of the most common pests in the United States. They typically are more annoying than harmless showing up in the kitchen, bathrooms, and plates at an outside barbecue. But there are a particular species of ants that can be very dangerous especially for a person with severe allergies.


RIFA is a red imported fire ant from Brazil. They are more aggressive than all of the ants. Their sting or bite is extremely painful and can be deadly if


The RIFA is dark reddish-brown color and has an oval shape. They are 1/16″ to ¼” long. They are found in Southeastern US from Texas to Virginia and show up in California and New Mexico. They were introduced in the 1930s to the U.S. They will eat plants or animals. They are not picky as they will eat almost anything they can find.


RIFAs have an unusual way of surviving floods. The colony of ants connect to form a ball and float until they reach dry land. When they arrive at land, they can be an even greater risk because they are very hungry and are not secure in a nest. So, they may be more prone to attack and sting with more venom than usual.


Their nests are found outdoors in dirt or near structural foundations. The colony sets up nests under a covering such as grass, stones, or the base of a tree. They can locate around HVAC units and electrical boxes near home entrances points.

Health risks

With the average human, a RIFA sting causes a raised welt that can become a white pustule and is very painful. Because ants are huddled in a colony, a person will be stung by multiple ants defending their nest.

When an ant is in distress, it uses pheromones to communicate with the colony. The other colony members will to its aid. Statistics say that 2% of the population can go into anaphylactic shock after being stung by RIFAs.

If you have a fire ant allergy, a sting can spark hives and swelling distant from the sting site, cramping and vomiting, difficulty breathing and swallowing, and in severe cases, the deadly drop in blood pressure that comes with anaphylaxis.

Fire ants can attack and kill small animals. RIFAs bite and then sting from the abdomen and inject solenopsin which is a toxic alkaloid venom. This venom releases toxins that cause blisters, prolonged agony, and even possible allergic reactions.


The best way to treat for a fire ant problem is to prevent them from nesting in your garden or home in the first place. To avoid an ant infestation indoors, seal all internal and external cracks.

If you see a telltale mound nest structure, it is probably a colony of this species of ants? Avoid this next at all costs. Contact a professional licensed pest control expert to take care of the problem.


Depending on the fire ant species, colonies can contain anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 ants which grow rapidly. A Queen fire ant can produce between 1,500 to 5,000 eggs on a daily.

If you have an infestation of RIFAs, contact Houseman Services at 866-964-PEST as soon as possible so we can treat your property?

Houseman Services is the only complete service company in the Athens, GA area. We provide Weed control, fertilization, shrub care, mulch & pine straw, sod, annual plantings, irrigation, and commercial & residential lawn maintenance. We are also state certified and licensed in wood destroying organisms (termite control), household pest control, public health, and turf & ornamental weed control. We are licensed to control and treat mosquitoes, termites, all pest problems and turf & ornamental weed control. Contact the professionals at Houseman Services and set up a free inspection of your yard. We have been servicing homes and businesses in the Athens, Clarke County area since 1985!