The Ant Taketh and Giveth

The ant can be one of the more pesky and destructive bugs, especially as the weather warms at the end of spring and the start of summer. Yet, on the other hand, ants are not without benefits.

Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA) illustrate this dichotomy. They pose a threat to picnickers and frolickers in parks when they swarm and sting people. If disturbed from their mound, they attack and impose a painful sting on their victims. Animals are not immune to the dangers of RIFA either. Livestock are at similar risk to red fire ants, which attack the mouths of cows and horses when grazing for food. Calves can be painfully stung, and in some cases blinded, before they are able to stand up and walk.

On the other hand, ants can have a beneficial impact on the environment. They do a better job than worms at improving soil. When they dig tunnels and move soil, nutrients are redistributed. The open spaces left behind in their tunnels improve air and water circulation in the soil.

Termites and ticks, among other nuisance bugs that carry disease, are a favorite staple of an ants’ diet. By eating pests such as these, ants provide an invaluable service to farm animals. Irritating red fire ants are especially good at devouring pests, sometimes even ones larger than them, such as scorpions as stinkbugs.

If RIFA are creating a problem on your property, contact Triple S Services at 800-457-3785 for a free ant inspection.
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Red imported Fire Ant

Red Imported Fire Ant. Photo by Sanford Porter. USDA

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