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Monday, January 6, 2020

Warmer winter causing fire ants to flourish in Volusia and Flagler counties

Posted By on Mon, Jan 6, 2020 at 7:30 PM

  • Screenshot via AMDROpestcontrol/YouTube
Snowbirds aren't the only ones enjoying the warm weather.

Due to the unseasonably hot winter, ants – fire ants in particular – have migrated, multiplied and spread across Flagler and Volusia counties, say agricultural experts. They're mating and procreating like it's spring, instead of harvesting resources and storing energy for a cold winter.

"They think it’s spring when its 85 degrees outside, so they are busy swarming, busy procreating," said Dave’s Pest Control operator Michael Liley to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. "The queen will send out a signal for them go somewhere else and start a colony. It’s pretty unusual, but they are like people; they love tropical weather."

Fire ants have pockmarked Volusia and Flagler with sand mounds, structures ants add atop underground colonies "to stay dry and warm," said University of Florida/Volusia County Extension Service director Brad Burbaugh to the News-Journal. A hallmark of a fire ant mound, as opposed to a non-fire ant mound, is that they have no opening at the top.

Another hallmark of the fire ant is aggression. Do not fuck with fire ant mounds. Once disturbed, the queen fire ant sends an army that will stop at almost nothing to defend the colony.

One way of distinguishing a fire ant from a more chill ant is its behavior, noted Liley. If a group of ants charges you instead of just ignoring you, they are likely fire ants. Don't engage. They will swarm and bite you a bunch, and it will hurt for days and possibly leave a scar.

All of the extra fire-ant bangin' thanks to the mild weather means even more fire ants to look out for this summer. But the elevated sand mounds do give their home base away.

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