Red Imported Fire AntIn October 2009, suspect red imported fire ant (RIFA) mounds were detected near a retail nursery in Murray, Kentucky in Calloway County.  Nursery inspectors and the county extension agent subsequently treated the mounds with insecticide bait and collected specimens for identification.  The ants were confirmed to be RIFA by a USDA identifier on October 8, 2009.  Nursery inspectors visually surveyed the field and roadside and treated all active mounds with insecticide bait.  In 2010 surveys were conducted to determine if the treatments were successful or if the treatments need to continue.  No fire ants were found on the following survey dates:

  • May 4, 2010
  • June 20, 2010
  • July 1, 2010
  • July 15, 2010
  • July 27, 2010
  • July 28, 2010

Red Imported Fire Ant adultDue to Kentucky's close proximity to areas of Tennessee which are infested with imported fire ants, we have had to address other infestations as they've occurred. 

  • In November 2012, suspect fire ant mounds were detected by a homeowner in Calloway County, Kentucky.  A USDA identifier confirmed that the insects were red imported fire ants. 
  • In July 2013, federal personnel from Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (Trigg County) detected fire ant mounds.  The ants were identified as black imported fire ants by a USDA identifier. 

We treated the mounds and returned to survey the treated areas as well as many sites throughout western Kentucky that appeared suitable for fire ant establishment.  We used a combination of visual surveys and trapping using baited canisters in areas where mounds were previously treated.  Our 2014 survey dates were as follows:

  • May 19-21, 2014
  • June 16-17, 2014
  • August 6-8, 2014
  • October 22-24, 2014

On October 22, 2014, we discovered a suspect mound in Trigg County.  Samples were submitted and confirmed to be imported fire ants.  We treated it and will continue to survey all areas with previously-treated mounds and well as other sites throughout western Kentucky.

In 2015, we treated two mounds reported by Land Between the Lakes personnel.  We treated the first mound on May 19-20, 2015.  We collected ants and sent them for identification.  Based on the condition of the sample, the identifier could not be positive, but he strongly suspected black imported fire ant,Solenopsis richteri.  We treated a different mound on August 1-2, 2015 and prepared a sample for cuticular hydrocarbon analysis.  The ants were positively identified as black imported fire ant.

No ants were found on other survey dates in 2015:

  • June 4-5, 2015
  • July 13-14, 2015
  • August 27-28, 2015

No ants were found on the survey dates in 2016:

  • April 6, 2016
  • June 14-15, 2016
  • June 29-30, 2016
  • September 22-23, 2016
  • October 17-18, 2016

Red Imported Fire Ant mound    Red Imported Fire Ant damage