Origin, Distribution, Biology and Integrated Management of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: ‎Formicidae): A Comprehensive Study

Abdul Rashied, Muhammad Ikhlaq, Waqar Jaleel, Bilal Akram, Muhammad Faraz Ayoub Khan, Aqib Nawaz Mughal, Adeel Mukhtar, Muhammad Azhar Bashir, Kashif Shabir, Rabia Saeed, Syed Ishfaq Ali Shah, Rashid Azad, Syed Muhammad Zaka, Yurong He


The red imported fire ant (RIFA), Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is a serious, aggressive social insect pest with an original distribution centered in the southern United States. Now, its population has been established in many countries around the globe. This insect is well-known for causing a range of harmful impacts, such as damaging crops, endangering public safety, harming livestock, reducing the diversity of native flora and fauna, and disrupting ecosystems, particularly in China. Its control is a laborious, expensive, and time-consuming task. Timely implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies is needed for its effective management. Strict preventive measures are needed to avoid its invasion in new areas or places. Effective quarantine measures are essential at seaports and airports to limit the movement of RIFA across countries. If the invasion has occurred, then proper implementation of IPM strategies should be used against RIFA. Considering the broad spectrum of losses caused by RIFA, this study provides proper information about the possible entry routes of invasions and provides guidelines for the implementation of IPM strategies against RIFA


Biology; Invasion; Solenopsis invicta; IPM; Red imported fire ant

Full Text:



Ali, A., Hudnall, W., Reagan, T., 1986. Effects of soil types and cultural practices on the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in sugarcane. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 18, 63-71.

Allen, C.R., Epperson, D., Garmestani, A., 2004. Red imported fire ant impacts on wildlife: a decade of research. The American Midland Naturalist Journal 152, 88-103.

Anonymous, 1972. Ecological range for the imported fire ant--based on plant hardiness. Cooperative Economic Insect Report. 22: centerfold map.

APQA, 2018. Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency. Republic of Korea. Available from http://www.qia.go.kr/viewwebQiaCom.

Ascunce, M.S., Yang, C.-C., Oakey, J., Calcaterra, L., Wu, W.-J., Shih, C.-J.. . . Shoemaker, D., 2011. Global invasion history of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta. Science 331, 1066-1068.

Bailey, L., 1967. The incidence of virus diseases in the honey bee. Annals of Applied Biology 60, 43-48.

Bao, S.Z., Kafle, L., Shih, C.J., 2011. A new baited trap for monitoring Solenopsis invicta (Formicidae: Hymenoptera) in Taiwan. Applied Entomology and Zoology 46. 165-169.

BAPHIQ. 2017. Bureau of plant health inspection and quarantine Taiwan: Council of Agriculture Available from https://www. baphiq.gov.tw/view_news.php?id=13389.

Barr, C., Drees, B., Eugster, A., Cohen, N., Reagor, J., Sprott, L.. . . Vinson, S., 1995. Fire ants and animal health: A comprehensive survey. DVM Issues A special report for TVMA Members. Texas Veterinary Medical Association, Austin, TX

Bentley, M.T., Oi, F.M., Gezan, S.A., Hahn, D.A., 2015. Tunneling performance increases at lower temperatures for Solenopsis invicta (Buren) but not for Nylanderia fulva (Mayr). Insects 6, 686-695.

Bharti, H., Guénard, B., Bharti, M., Economo, E.P., 2016. An updated checklist of the ants of India with their specific distributions in Indian states (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). ZooKeys 551, 1-83.

Blüthgen, N., Fiedler, K., 2004. Preferences for sugars and amino acids and their conditionality in a diverse nectar-feeding ant community. Journal of Animal Ecology 155-166.

Boyles, J.G., Aubrey, D.P., Hickman, C.R., Murray, K.L., Timpone, J.C., Ops, C.H., 2009. Variation in physiological response of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) to small-scale thermal heterogeneity. Journal of Thermal Biology 34, 81-84.

Chen, J., Rashid, T., Feng, G., 2014. A comparative study between Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri on tolerance to heat and desiccation stresses. PLoS One 9 e96842.

Chen, J.S., Shen, C.-H., Lee, H.-J., 2006. Monogynous and polygynous red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in Taiwan. Environmental Entomology 35, 167-172.

Chen, L., Fadamiro, H.Y., 2018. Pseudacteon phorid flies: host specificity and impacts on Solenopsis fire ants. Annual Review of Entomology 63, 47-67.

Chen, Y.P., Siede, R., 2007. Honey bee viruses. Advances in Virus Research 70, 33-80.

Choi, M., Shim, K., 2018. Over 700 fire ants found in port. Korea JoongAng Daily. Available from http://koreajoongangdaily. joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3049552 52 (6).

Cui, C.L., Zeng, Y., Lu, Y., Xu, Y.J., 2018. Effect of electric field on the aggregation of Solenopsis invicta workers. Journal of Environmental Entomology 40, 809-814.

De Miranda, J.R., Genersch, E., 2010. Deformed wing virus. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 103, S48-S61.

Demirel, N., Kurt, S., Gunes, U., Uluc, F., Cabuk, F., 2009. Toxicological responses of confused flour beetle, Tribolium confusum du Val (Coleoptera: Tenebrionoidea) to various isothiocyanate compounds. Asian Journal of Chemistry 21, 6411-6416.

Drees, B., Jensen, J., Joyce, J., Barr, C., Reagor, J., 1995. Prevention and treatment of fire ant injury to livestock and wildlife. Texas Veterin 57. 11-13.

Drees, B.M., 1994. Red imported fire ant predation on nestlings of colonial waterbirds. Southwestern Entomologists 19, 355-359.

Drees, B.M., Calixto, A.A., Nester, P.R., 2013. Integrated pest management concepts for red imported fire ants Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insect Science 20, 429-438.

Du, Y., Grodowitz, M.J., Chen, J., 2020. Insecticidal and enzyme inhibitory activities of isothiocyanates against red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta. Biomolecules 10, 716.

Eubanks, M.D., Blackwell, S.A., Parrish, C.J., Delamar, Z.D., Hull-Sanders, H., 2002. Intraguild predation of beneficial arthropods by red imported fire ants in cotton. Environmental Entomology 31, 1168-1174.

Fowler, H., 1997. Morphological prediction of worker size discrimination and relative abundance of sympartic species of Pseudacteon (Dipt., Phoridae) parasitoids of the fire ant, Solenopsis saevissima (Hym., Formicidae) in Brazil. Journal of Applied Entomology 121, 37-40.

Glancey, B.M., Lofgren, C.S., 1988. Adoption of newly-mated queens: a mechanism for proliferation and perpetuation of polygynous red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren. Florida Entomologist 71, 581-587.

Hashimoto, Y., Sakamoto, H., Asai, H., Yasoshima, M., Lin, H.-M., Goka, K., 2020. The effect of fumigation with microencapsulated allyl isothiocyanate in a gas-barrier bag against Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Applied Entomology and Zoology 55, 345-350.

Hashimoto, Y., Valles, S.M., 2008a. Detection and quantitation of Solenopsis invicta virus-2 genomic and intermediary replicating viral RNA in fire ant workers and larvae. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 98, 243-245.

Hashimoto, Y., Valles, S.M., 2008b. Infection characteristics of Solenopsis invicta virus 2 in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 99, 136-140.

Hedges, S.A., 1997. Handbook of Pest Control, 8th Ed. (Moreland D, editor) Mallis Handbook and Technical Training Company pp. 531-535.

Helms, J.A., Godfrey, A.P., Ames, T., Bridge, E.S., 2016. Are invasive fire ants kept in check by native aerial insectivores? Biology Letters 12, 20160059.

Hoffmann, B.D., Luque, G.M., Bellard, C., Holmes, N.D., Donlan, C.J., 2016. Improving invasive ant eradication as a conservation tool: A review. Biological Conservation 198, 37-49.

Huang, J., Xu, Y., Zeng, L., Liang, G., Lu, Y., 2010. Selective feeding of Solenopsis invicta on seeds of eight plant species and their influences on germination. Journal of Environmental Entomology 32, 6-10.

Huang, T.C., Chou, Y.C., Chou, H.C., 2004. Paper read at Proceedings of the Symposium on the Control of the Red Imported Fire Ant. Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, Council of Agriculture, Taipei.

Igarashi, K., 2018. Environment Ministry taking steps in bid to prevent fire ants from settling in Japan. The Mainichi. Available from https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180508/p2a/00m/0na/020000c.

Jang, W., Chung, E., 2018. Nest of red fire ants in Incheon included a queen. Korea JoongAng Daily. Available from http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx? aid=3050351.

Japan, M.o.E., 2019. Basic approach to control of Red Imported Fire Ant ver.2.0. Available from www.env.go.jp/ nature/mat_h310117.pdf 29 (2):696-703.

Jiang, C., Wang, K., Zhang, H., Zhou, S., 2010. Study on the insect diversity in the occurrence area of Solenopsis invicta. Journal of Anhui Agricultural Sciences 38. 13225-13228.

Kafle, L., Neupane, A.C., Wang, Y.-M., Gangai, S.R., 2020. Development of new boric acid gel baits for use on invasive ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 67, 59-64.

Kafle, L., Shih, C.-J., 2017. Insecticidal activities of compounds from sweet flag (Acorus Calamus) against red imported fire ants Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 64, 398-403.

Keller, L., 1991. Queen number, mode of colony founding, and queen reproductive success in ants (Hymenoptera Formicidae). Ethology Ecology & Evolution 3, 307-316.

Keller, L., Passera, L., 1989. Size and fat content of gynes in relation to the mode of colony founding in ants (Hymenoptera; Formicidae). Oecologia 80, 236-240.

Korzukhin, M., Porter, S., Thompson, L., Wiley, S., 2001. Modeling temperature-dependent range limits for the red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Solenopsis invicta) in the United States. Environmental Entomology 30, 645-655.

Kuo, K.-C., 2008. Management of red invasive fire ants and fruit flies: the Taiwan Experience: Food and Fertilizer Technology Center for the Asian and Pacific Region. Available from http://www.fftc.agnet.org/htmlarea_file/ library/20110712175158/eb615.pdf.

Lee, K., 2017. Venomous fire ants found for first time. The Korean Times. Available from http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2017/10/119_237251.html.

Li, J., Guo, Q., Lin, M., Jiang, L., Ye, J., Chen, D.. . . Han, S., 2016. Evaluation of a new entomopathogenic strain of Beauveria bassiana and a new field delivery method against Solenopsis invicta. PLoS One 11: e0158325.

Lin, H.-M., Tseng, Y.-C., Chen, C.-T., Lin, C.-C., Lee, Y.-T., Chen, Y.-Y., 2013. Use of liquid nitrogen to treat Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) nests. Florida Entomologist 96, 871-876.

Lofgren, C., Adams, C., 1981. Reduced yield of soybeans in fields infested with the red imported fire ant, Solenopis invicta Buren. Florida Entomologist 64, 199-202.

Lu, Y., Liang, G., Zeng, L., 2008. Study on expansion pattern of red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, in South China. Scientia Agricultura Sinica 41, 1053-1063.

Luo, Z., 2005. Harm of red imported fire ants to power facilities and their control. Guangdong Electric Power 18, 1-3.

Lytle, A., Costa, J., Warren, R., 2020. Invasion and high-elevation acclimation of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in the southern Blue Ridge Escarpment region of North America. PLoS One 15, e0232264.

Lyu, D.P., Lee, H.S., 2017. The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae) discovered in Busan sea port, Korea. Korean Journal of Applied Entomology 56, 437-438.

Mobley, D., Redding, J., 2005. USDA amends imported fire ant quarantine. USDA: APHIS press releases. http://www. aphis.usda.gov/lpa/news/2005/08.

Moloney, S., Vanderwoude, C., 2002. Red imported fire ants: A threat to eastern Australia's wildlife? Ecological Management and Restoration 3, 167-175.

Morrison, L.W., Gilbert, L.E., 1998. Parasitoid–host relationships when host size varies: the case of Pseudacteon flies and Solenopsis fire ants. Ecological Entomology 23, 409-416.

Morrison, L.W., Porter, S.D., Daniels, E., Korzukhin, M.D., 2004. Potential global range expansion of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Biological Invasions 6, 183-191.

Nyamukondiwa, C., Addison, P., Shelly, T., 2014. Food preference and foraging activity of ants: Recommendations for field applications of low-toxicity baits. Journal of Insect Science 14, 1-13.

Oyama, H., Nozaki, T., 2017. Governments strive to block fire ants at border. The Japan News.

Pigllucci, M., 1996. How organisms respond to environmental changes: from phenotypes to molecules (and vice versa). Trends in Ecology & Evolution 11, 168-173.

Pitts, J.P., 2002. A cladistic analysis of the Solenopsis saevissima species group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) [Ph. D. dissertation]. Athens : University of Georgia.

Poinar, G.O., Porter, S.D., Tang, S., Hyman, B.C., 2007. Allomermis solenopsin. sp.(Nematoda: Mermithidae) parasitising the fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Argentina. Systematic Parasitology 68, 115-128.

Porter, S.D., Tschinkel, W.R., 1987. Foraging in Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): effects of weather and season. Environmental Entomology 16, 802-808.

Qi, G., Huang, Y., Cen, Y., Lu, L., 2015. Effects of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, on the structure and diversity of the ant community in a human disturbed area. Chinese Journal of Aplied Entomology 52, 1368-1375.

Rajagopal, T., Sevarkodiyone, S., Sekar, M., 2005. Ant species richness, diversity and similarity index at five selected localities of Sattur Taluk. Indian Journal of Environmental Education 5, 7-12.

Rojas, M.G., Elliott, R.B., Morales-Ramos, J.A., 2018. Mortality of Solenopsis invicta workers (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) after indirect exposure to spores of three entomopathogenic fungi. Journal of Insect Science 18, 20.

Rosen, D., Bennett, F.D., Capinera, J.L., 1994. Pest management in the subtropics: Biological control-a Florida perspective: Intercept Limited.

Ross, K.G., Keller, L., 1995. Ecology and evolution of social organization: insights from fire ants and other highly eusocial insects. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 26, 631-656.

Schowalter, T., Cooper, K., Kramer, K., Neely, E., Ring, D., Ringe, P., 2015. Imported Fire Ant and Invasive Pest Ant Conference.

Seagraves, M.P., McPherson, R.M., 2003. Residual susceptibility of the red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) to four agricultural insecticides. Journal of Economic Entomology 96, 645-648.

Shim, K., 2018. Latest fire ant discovery raises fear of colony. Korea JoongAng Daily. Available from: http://koreajoongangdaily. joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3049695.

Song, Z., Lu, Y., Xu, Y., Huang, J., Liang, G., Zeng, L., 2010. Dynamic of native ants on the lawn with the invasion of Solenopsis invicta Buren. Acta Ecologica Sinica 30, 1287-1295.

Stringer, L.D., Suckling, D.M., Baird, D., Vander Meer, R.K., Christian, S.J., Lester, P.J., 2011. Sampling efficacy for the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Environmental Entomology 40, 1276-1284.

Taber, S.W., 2000. Fire ants: Texas A&M University Press, pp. 1-232.

Tsai, Y.-H., Yang, C.-C., Lin, C.-C., Shih, C.-J., 2009. The impact of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, and bait treatment on the diversity of native ants-a case study at National Taipei University, Sanshia campus. Formosan Entomologist 29, 263-277.

Tufts, D.M., Hunter, W.B., Bextine, B., 2010. Discovery and effects of Texas Solenopsis invicta virus [SINV-1 (TX5)] on red imported fire ant populations. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 104, 180-185.

Tufts, D.M., Hunter, W.B., Bextine, B., 2014. Solenopsis invicta virus (Sinv-1) infection and insecticide interactions in the red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomologist 97, 1251-1254.

Ujiyama, S., Tsuji, K., 2018. Controlling invasive ant species: a theoretical strategy for efficient monitoring in the early stage of invasion. Scientific Reports 8, 1-9.

Valles, S.M., Porter, S.D., 2019. Influence of temperature on the pathogenicity of Solenopsis invicta virus 3. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 166, 107217.

Valles, S.M., Porter, S.D., Choi, M.-Y., Oi, D.H., 2013. Successful transmission of Solenopsis invicta virus 3 to Solenopsis invicta fire ant colonies in oil, sugar, and cricket bait formulations. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 113, 198-204.

Valles, S.M., Porter, S.D., Firth, A.E., 2014. Solenopsis invicta virus 3: pathogenesis and stage specificity in red imported fire ants. Virology 460, 66-71.

Valles, S.M., Strong, C.A., Dang, P.M., Hunter, W.B., Pereira, R.M., Oi, D.H.. . . Williams, D.F., 2004. A picorna-like virus from the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta: initial discovery, genome sequence, and characterization. Virology 328: 151-157.

Vinson, S.B., 1997. Invasion of the red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): spread, biology, and impact. American Entomologist 43, 23-39.

Vinson, S.B., 2013. Impact of the invasion of the imported fire ant. Insect Science 20, 439-455.

Vinson, S.B., Sorensen, A., 1986. Imported fire ants: life history and impact. The Texas Department of Agriculture. P. O. Box 12847, Austin, Texas 78711.

Vogt, J.T., Streett, D.A., Pereira, R.M., Callcott, A.-M.A., 2003. Mississippi areawide fire ant suppression program: Unique aspects of working with black and hybrid imported fire ants. Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology 20, 105-111.

Wang, L., Zeng, L., Chen, J., 2015. Impact of imidacloprid on new queens of imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Scientific Reports 5, 1-8.

Wetterer, J.K., 2013. Exotic spread of Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) beyond North America. Sociobiology 60, 50-55.

Willmer, P., Stone, G., Johnston, I., 2009. Environmental physiology of animals John Wiley & Sons.

Wiltz, B., Suiter, D., Gardner, W., Berisford, C., 2010. A novel delivery method for ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) toxicants. MidSouth Entomologist 3, 79-88.

Worfel, R., Schneider, K., Yang, T., 1997. Suppressive effect of allyl isothiocyanate on populations of stored grain insect pests. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation 21, 9-19.

Wu, B., Lu, Y., Liang, G., Zeng, L., 2010. Influence of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on the diversity of ant communities in a newly infested longan orchard and grass areas nearby. Acta Ecologica Sinica 30, 2075-2083.

Wu, D., Zeng, L., Lu, Y., Xu, Y., 2014. Effects of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and its interaction with aphids on the seed productions of mungbean and rapeseed plants. Journal of Economic Entomology 107, 1758-1764.

Wu, D., Zeng, L., Lu, Y., Xu, Y., 2016. Effect of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on flower-visiting behavior of insects on Brassica napus (Brassicales: Brassicaceae). Florida Entomologist 99, 166-171.

Wu, D., Zeng, L., Xu, Y., 2015. Impact of Solenopsis invicta and its mutualism with aphids on flower-visiting behavior of insects on mungbean, Vigna radiata. Journal of Environmental Entomology 37, 715-719.

Wylie, F.R., Janssen May, S., 2017. Red imported fire ant in Australia: what if we lose the war? Ecological Management & Restoration 18, 32-44.

Wylie, R., Yang, C.C.S., Tsuji, K., 2020. Invader at the gate: The status of red imported fire ant in Australia and Asia. Ecological Research 35, 6-16.

Xu, Y.-J., Lu, Y.-Y., Pan, Z.-P., Zeng, L., Liang, G.-W., 2009. Heat tolerance of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in mainland China. Sociobiology 54, 115-126.

Xu, Y., Huang, J., Zhou, A., Zeng, L., 2012. Prevalence of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) venom allergic reactions in mainland China. Florida Entomologist 95, 961-965.

Yang, C.C.S., Shoemaker, D.D., Wu, J.C., Lin, Y.K., Lin, C.C., Wu, W.J., Shih, C.J., 2009. Successful establishment of the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta in Taiwan: insights into interactions of alternate social forms. Diversity and Distributions 15, 709-719.

Yue Lu, Y., 2012. The effects of temperature on the foraging activity of red imported fire ant workers (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in South China. Sociobiology 59, 573-583.

Zeng, L., Lu, Y., He, X., Zhang, W., Liang, G., 2005. Identification of red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, to invade mainland China and infestation in Wuchuan, Guangdong. Chinese Bulletin of Entomology, 42, 144-148.

Zhang, R., Li, Y., Liu, N., Porter, S.D., 2007. An overview of the red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in mainland China. Florida Entomologist 90, 723-731.

Zhao, J., Xu, Y., 2015. Survey of the prevalence of fire ant sting accidents based on internet reports. Chinese Journal of Aplied Entomology 52, 1409-1412.

Zhao, J., Zhong, P., Zhang, S., Song, X., 2008. Control effect of Solenopsis invicta Buren in transformer substations. Chinese Journal of Hygienic Insecticides & Equipments 4, 267-269.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33804/pp.007.01.4447


  • There are currently no refbacks.