Red Imported Fire Ants found in Prince George County

A close-up of Red Imported Fire Ants.
A close-up of Red Imported Fire Ants.
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 10:32 PM EST
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PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) -The US Department of Agriculture has confirmed Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA) were found on a northwest Prince George farm.

The county says numerous RIFA mounds have been found across Prince George County. RIFA colonies have been found near Carson, Templeton, Prince George and Richard Bland College.

Prince George County is not included in the Virginia Imported Fire Ant Quarantine right now. Dinwiddie and Sussex will come under quarantine in December. This means that residents in Prince George who encounter RIFA mounds should contact the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) at 804-786-3515.

If you think you’ve found a RIFA mound, do not disturb the mound, call VDACS and do not try home remedies to control the colonies.

RIFA workers will defend their colony by swarming whatever disturbed their mound and painfully stinging anything near it from ants. The stings induce a brief, intense burning sensation and may form pustules. The stings are not deadly, but those sensitive to bees or other insect stings should be especially careful as they could cause severe reactions.

After calling the VDCA, a pest management representative will be assigned to contact you about treating the RIFA colonies.

Home remedies and improper treatment can make the problem worse. The colony could disperse and create several new colonies. Mound treatment with approved insecticide baits is the most effective way to control RIFA.

You can also report RIFA mounds to Scott Reiter, Virginia Cooperative Extension Prince George office, at 804-733-2686.