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Native or Invader? Know the Enemy

Hint: Invasive fire ants produce mounds of trouble

Native fire ants actually help impede the spread of invasive species, so before attacking that mound, make sure it contains the real enemy. (Remember that native species never reached pest status thanks to control by their natural enemies.)

Fire ants’ signature behavior is attacking en masse when the mound is disturbed. Fire ants live and do most of their foraging underground, and nests form a network of tunnels up to 18 inches in diameter and 36 inches deep. The mound above ground is soil from the clearing of tunnels and chambers underground. The ants live in this above-ground mound certain times of the year.

Invasive ants also are known for their numerous, conspicuous mounds of loose soil above ground, and their workers sting aggressively and repeatedly. Find information about other native species of ants in Texas at http://fireant.tamu.edu/antfacts/nativeants.cfm.

To learn more about the presence of phorid flies in a particular area and details on the release program, go to www.sbs.utexas.edu/fireant/index.html.