FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Use of phorid flies for biocontrol
1. Why are phorid flies better than pesticides in controlling fire ants?
2. What do phorid flies do to fire ants?
3. Now that phorid flies are being released, when will they eradicate fire ants?
4. How big are phorid flies? Will they be a nuisance too?
5. What are the possible negative effects of phorid flies introduced to control imported fire ants? What will they eat after they kill off all the fire ants?
6. Why should we be concerned about studying our native species of ant-attacking phorid flies?
Identification of native and invasive fire ants
7. I'm not sure I have fire ants. How can I be sure?
8. Which fire ants are the native species and how can I identify them?
9. We have large red ants that come out of a hole surrounded by open ground covered in small pebbles. Their sting really hurts! Are these fire ants?
Background on the fire ant invasion
10. How, when, and why were fire ants imported to the U.S. and where do they occur at the moment?
11. Why are imported fire ants such a pest, while the native Texas fire ants are not?
12. Are imported fire ants problem pests in their homelands, Brazil and Argentina?
13. Why do we have so many imported fire ants in Texas?
14. When the ground is dry, fire ant mounds disappear. Are the mounds dead?
15. Can you describe the life cycle of fire ants?
16. How do fire ants spread?
17. Why do we find piles of dead fire ants?
Effects of invasive fire ants
18. Do fire ants have anything to do with the disappearance of horny toads?
19. How do fire ants affect quail and other wildlife?
20. Do fire ants destroy plants?
21. How much money do fire ants cost us?
22. Why are fire ants attracted to electrical circuit boxes and electric motors? Is that dangerous?
Humans and fire ants
23. How can I avoid being stung by fire ants?
24. I am very allergic to fire ant stings. Is it possible to have successful immunotherapy as a protective measure?
25. What do fire ant stings look like and what causes the pustules?
26. Do fire ants sting or bite? Why didn't I feel any ants on me until I was stung multiple times?
27. How can I treat fire ant stings?
Pesticides and other treatments
28. What should I do if I have native ants in my yard?
29. What are the safest and most effective chemical controls for fire ants in yards and pastures?
30. What can I use to kill fire ants indoors? I don't want to expose my family and pets to dangerous chemicals.
31. Why not kill all the ants in my yard just to be sure I kill the fire ants?
32. Someone suggested that pouring gasoline on fire mounds was a certain way to kill them. What do you think?
33. I heard that if fire ants get into the walls of a house, they can do an much damage as termites. Is there some ant that does this and if so should we be concerned about them in Texas?
34. Armadillos eat fire ants and some people think this might control the RIFA. Is this a real possibility for controlling the RIFA?
35. What are "zombie" fire ants?
Staffing and funding
36. What is the staffing and funding profile of the lab?