I don't really worry a whole lot about ants, but perhaps I should change my perspective as there's a nasty variation that's been spotted right across the Missouri border and it's bad news if these little beasts make it to the Show Me State.

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I've got good news and bad news about the imported (and invasive) fire ants. The good news is that they're not in Missouri - yet. The bad news? They have already been reported right on the edge of the Missouri border in both Arkansas and Tennessee.

Fire Ant Tracker, USDA
Fire Ant Tracker, USDA

The other bad news is that these vicious ants have a history of finding their way to Missouri as they did in the Bootheel area not that long ago.

So what's the problem with imported fire ants?

The short answer is lots. The long answer is these specific fire ants are damaging to the following items according to the USDA:

  • Corn
  • Soybean
  • Okra
  • Citrus
  • Humans
  • Young and newborn animals
  • Agricultural equipment

How can you tell if you're dealing with fire ants?

The USDA says they're "1/8” to 1/4” long and reddish-brown or black in color".  But, wait, there's more. If you get attacked by fire ants they "clamp onto their victims with powerful jaws and sting repeatedly while injecting painful venom". Yikes.

There's no reason to get too excited just yet as there are no fire ant reports in Missouri at the time of this writing. It's just one of those pests you want to watch out for since they are nothing but trouble if they find their way here.

Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Home

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