Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Published in AMERICAN ENTOMOLOGIST Volume 47, Number 1 (Spring 2001).


The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (hereafter referred to as imported fire ant), long considered a regional problem, is receiving renewed attention nationwide, with infestations found in Arizona, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, and Virginia (Mitchell 1996). Recently, infestations discovered in several regions of California caused great public concern (Brennan 1999, Schrader 1999). Initially, infestations appeared to be isolated in almond groves in Kern County; presumably these infestations originated from bee hives transported interstate for the purpose of pollinating crops. Separately, ornamental plants arriving in Las Vegas, NV, were infested with fire ants, and records showed that the point of origin was a nursery in Orange County, CA. Further inspections revealed infestations in over 16,000 acres of Orange County. Finally, infestations were identified in some desert irrigated agricultural regions of the Coachella Valley in Riverside County, CA. Subsequently, a toll-free telephone number was established for reporting fire ant mounds in the state of California (800-491-1899).