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Do we have fire ants in New England? We sure do!

By Chris Williams on April 7, 2016.
Fire Ant

Fire Ant

Yes, its true we really do have ‘fire’ ants in New England, but it is not the southern species you may be familiar with. They’ve actually been around for over a century.  Myrmica rubra or European Fire Ant was first discovered and written about as a new invasive species by W.M. Wheeler in Massachusetts in 1908.  Throughout the past fifty years, sporadic reports of stinging red ants occurred throughout areas of coastal Maine, and during the mid 80’s this species presence was confirmed.  This ant is on the move in Maine and is now found in over twenty mostly coastal locations (up from two during the 1950s;) in seven different counties.  These ants do not invade homes, but are a major nuisance for homeowners who have established colonies in their yards.  They will aggressively defend their nests and attack humans and their pets.  Stings are very painful and can be dangerous for extremely sensitive individuals.  Homeowners report curtailed use of their yards and gardens because of the threat posed by these aggressive stinging ants.  A few notable outbreaks have also happened in the state of Massachusetts.

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