The invasive European fire ant Myrmica rubra (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) has recently been detected in Fredericton, NB. The European fire ant is a small (approx. 5mm) orange-reddish brown ant that readily stings humans and other animals.
Fire ants create several inter-connected nests with multiple queens. They do not make large mounds but instead prefer to nest in damp warm areas of soil, such as under logs, large stones, stationary objects such as potted plants, propane tanks etc., as well as areas with long grass or piles of garden debris such as leaves.
Fire ants are primarily spread by the movement of ants or ant larvae in soil. Soil or plants in soil should not be moved from infested properties, this is thought to be the primary vector of spread. Immersing potted plants from unknown sources in water for at least one hour prior to planting has some efficacy killing ants and larvae.
If you suspect you have the European fire ant, the identification should be confirmed prior to attempting to control the ants. If you are a resident of Fredericton or a near by community, and suspect you have fire ants, collect a few individual ants in a small plastic container, freeze them, and send them to me for identification. Please include the date, location of collection and your contact information (all information will be kept confidential) and then drop off to or mail to:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
850 Lincoln Road
For more information on the European fire ant and control methods, check some of these resources:
Digging up colonies and sealing infested soil in very well sealed containers, exposed to full sun over many months, also has had some success in combination with killing ants on site. Ensure not to move infested soil to other properties as this will spread the infestation! There are generally several colonies in an area.
Disclaimer: all information on this page has been compiled from online resources or discussions with those experienced in fire ant control. I am not an expert on fire ants and provide these resources for information purposes only.