I Have Mounds in My Yard
After a nice rainy day or two, you see a small mound of dirt appear; some lawns will support several mounds. These mounds not only look bad in your lawn, but they hold one of the most despised insect pests in the southeastern United States, the Fire Ant.
You will not see any opening in the center of the mounds like you will find in most ant mounds. The Imported Fire Ant leaves and enters their mounds through underground tunnels. If the mounds are left undisturbed they can reach 18 inches high, higher if they have a support system of natural limbs, or brush, or manmade objects like a wall, power box, cable box or other items.
Fire ants in many states are small, only about 1/8 to 1/4-inch long. This variation in size is a distinguishing feature that the pest control companies know as polymorphic. This will be in mounds with a single queen (MONOGYNE meaning single queen).
In some areas we have the mounds with multiple queens (POLYGYNE meaning multiple queens). the workers in these mounds are general monomorphic meaning 1 uniform size. Here in the Georgia most of our ant species are monomorphic. Two that are not are the Fire Ant and The Carpenter Ant.
If you live in an area were imported fire ants are common, most homeowners will recognize them by their mounds that they build or the stings they inflict. The pest control industry knows a few other characteristics to look for; the aggression they show when anything disturbs their mounds. If a mound is disturbed, usually hundreds of fire ant workers will swarm out and run up vertical surfaces to sting. If you disturb a mound the white objects that you will see being carried around by the workers is the brood—the eggs, larvae and pupae of developing ants.
Worker ants bite with their chewing mouthparts and inject venom with their stingers aggressively and repeatedly. If you get stung, you may feel burning or tingling at the site. A day or so later, the imported fire ant's unique venom forms a characteristic white fluid-filled pustule or blister at the sting site. For some people the sting from the Fire Ants can be deadly. To many small animals on the ground it can be a slow agonizing death as the fire ants will swarm over the target and sting it to death. Many small ground nesting birds and other animals fall prey to this predator every year.