Red Imported Fire Ants

Fire antBe Aware of Fire Ants

Be aware that you might encounter these nasty pests as you do outdoor activities and try to stay away from them. Eradication cannot be successful without your help in reporting them to the Fire Ant Authority.


Red Imported Fire Ants, with their aggressive nature and painful stings, are beginning to infest California. Fire ants are very small, not large as some people may think. The colony or nest is very distinctive and easily recognized as a loosely compacted, finely granular dome (18 inches in diameter and 6 to 10 inches high) of soil that resembles a gopher mound. Fire ants attack when their nests are disturbed, usually when a person or animal inadvertently steps on their mound.


The Red Imported Fire Ant is considered dangerous because, unlike most ants, this species delivers stings (venom) that produce immediate pain, burning / itching sensation, and raised pustules form in a day or two. The venom is relatively toxic and potentially lethal to pets, wildlife, and sensitized humans. If your child, or anyone in your family is stung, you need to consult your physician immediately and follow his direction. Treatment for the sting is aimed at preventing secondary bacterial infection, which may occur if the pustule is scratched or broken. Although the stings are not usually life threatening, they are easily infected.

ColonyTest for Ants

Residents can perform a simple test to know if they have fire ants. On a warm day, place a potato chip (do not use fat free or baked chips) at 25-foot intervals throughout your property, wait three to four hours, then look for ants feeding on the chips. If you find any reddish brown ants on the chips, contact the Orange County Fire Ant Authority.

Reporting Ants

If you think you have these ants, call Orange County Vector Control at 714-971-2421 or submit an online service request. Do not disturb the mound or try to kill the ants yourself. You can learn more about the infestation problem through this website. Due to the size of the infestation, eradication cannot be successful without your help.