Fire antsThe imported fire ant is a pest in both urban and rural areas. These ants directly affect plants and crops, animals and people. Fire ants also cause indirect problems through their negative effects on the infrastructure and ecosystem. The damage done estimates in the United States go to billions of dollars annually. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on fire ant pest control annually.
Fire ants are originally from South America, where several fire ant species exist. It is believed that some fire ants species have reached the United States through ship ballast. Both the black imported fire ant and the red imported fire ant exist in the U.S.