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Originally from S. America. Among the worstAnts, fire: Originally from S. America. Among the worstinsect pests ever to invade the U.S. Red or yellowish ants of small-to-medium size with asevere sting that burns like fire. They normally feed on small insects but, with denserpopulations, they eat seeds and seedling plants, damage grain and vegetable crops, invadekitchens, attack newly hatched poultry and the young of ground-nesting wild birds. Fireants can kill newborn domestic and wild animals. Each colony is composed of a queen,winged males and females and 3 kinds of workers. A nest averages about 25,000 workers, butfar larger populations are common. Semipermanent nests are large mounds of excavated soilwith openings for ventilation. Since nests may number 50-100 (or more) in a heavilyinfested field, cultivating becomes difficult (or impossible). Fire ants belong to thegenus Solenopsis.