If you have ever been to the southern part of the United States, you probably learned early on that it is not wise to sit in the grass for a picnic, or any other activity. Thanks to this vicious little insect, the imported red fire ant, many outdoor activities take on a certain edge of risk.
These ants are tiny and hard to spot, and since their accidental introduction to the U.S. in the 1930's, they have become a major pest. With no native predators to keep them in check, their populations have expanded through the southern part of North America.
Their little nest mounds are everywhere, and easy to spot if you know what to look for.
imported red fire ant (solenopsis invicta) nest mound
If you agitate the nest mound at all, they emerge in mass to defend their home.
imported red fire ant (solenopsis invicta) defensive reaction
For such a small ant they pack a powerful sting.
imported red fire ant (solenopsis invicta)
Photographing the portrait below was not easy. I had to use a magnifying loupe to see which end of the ant was the front!
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