4954 N. Shamrock Place, Tucson, AZ 85705

Southern Fire Ant

Solenopsis xyloni

Southern Fire Ant

Physical Features

Workers vary in size from 1/16 to 1/4 inch long.  Mandible has 3 teeth and they also have large eyes. Body is yellowish to reddish with a mostly black abdomen. Their body is covered with yellow hairs.  Stinger is prevalent.

Life Cycle

Complete Metamorphosis
Queens lay a high number of eggs, over 1,000, in one day.  Hatching occurs in 14-30 days with development to the adult stage being achieved in as little as 44 days.  Colonies can reach up to 10,000 workers with multiple queens.


  • Diet: Omnivores. Meats, greases, butter, seeds, grains, fruits, plant base, nuts.
  • Activity: More active in the morning and early evening.
  • Preferred Climate: Warm weather.
  • Defense: Stings
  • Cautions: Painful stings.
  • Home Invasion: Like to be near moisture in the soil. Their nests are flattened with little to no mound and are typically 2-4 feet wide and shallow. They will have one to several openings in the nests. Inside a home, they can be found in a void, under carpets. They also will be found in wood piles.

Helpful Hints

  • Check firewood prior to moving indoors for ant activity.
  • Repair any leaky faucets. Resist over-watering landscaping.
  • Aggressive baiting program and preventative pest control plan.

Interesting Facts

Southern Fire Ants have been known to chew through the plastic covering wires.


They sting and it hurts! They grasp the skin and can sting repeatedly.

Nesting Sites

They nest in soil often near moist areas.