More fire ants marching into Middle Tenn. - WKRN News 2

More fire ants marching into Middle Tenn.

Posted: Updated: March 28, 2014 06:09 PM CDT

A significant portion of Middle Tennessee is dealing with a fire ant problem.

Jim Bilbrey with All American Pest Control knows all about the biting bug.

He has treated homes in Williamson, Davidson and Wilson counties for the pests.

"Probably the largest mound I have seen would be three to four feet around and about a foot and a half tall. The top of the mound is about a third of what's below ground," said Bilbrey.

Spring is the season when mounds start to pop up, and residents can expect to see even more this year.

Entomologist Steve Murphree said the Mid-State region is dealing with a progressive spike in fire ants.
"Since about 1930, they've been moving north from Mobile, Alabama, and here's how far they've gotten since Mobile, Alabama," said Murphree.

The bites from fire ants can be deadly.

"There have been a few isolated deaths," Murphree explained. "They have a chemical called an alarm pheromone that one of those individuals will send out. It moves very quickly over the surface of your skin to all the other ants that are there and simultaneously they begin to sting you."

There are a few places that homeowners should be aware of.

According to Bilbrey, fire ants like to build their mounds on the edge of a driveway or sidewalk.

The base of a pad on an AC unit is also a hot spot for the insects.

"Another area, you'll see them build around is a splash box. The base of the splash box provides cover," said Bilbrey.

Anyone that finds a fire ant mound in their yard should call pest control.

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