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Entomology and control of imported fire ants

David F Williams, PhD
Richard D deShazo, MD
Jerome Goddard, PhD
Robin Rockhold, PhD
Stephen F Kemp, MD
Section Editor
David B Golden, MD
Deputy Editor
Anna M Feldweg, MD


The imported fire ant (IFA) is an aggressive, venomous insect that inhabits the southeastern United States and is spreading westward and northward. Originally from South America, it has also become established in Australia and some of the Caribbean islands.

This topic review discusses the medical entomology of the IFA, its clinical impact, recommendations to prevent the indoor infestation of health care facilities, and the chemical and biologic control of this insect pest. Treatment of IFA stings and allergy to IFA venom are reviewed separately. (See "Stings of imported fire ants: Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment".)


Species — The term "imported fire ant" (IFA) refers to two members of the Solenopsis species [1]:

The red IFA, Solenopsis invicta (a native of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay)

The black IFA, Solenopsis richteri (a native of Argentina and Uruguay)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 19, 2017.
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