Interesting. S. invicta in Missouri seems further north than I thought they’d like, though they are hardy and seem intent on spreading. Then again, maybe they’re moving north to get away from the recently introduced crazy ant species here in Texas (the crazy ants are taking on the fire ants along with everything else–and the crazy ants are pretty much winning all the battles).
And I’d never heard of the little fire ant. Cool. Time to do some research and learn something new…
I first reported fire ants collected from a lawn in the St. Louis area, and brought to me by a landscaper, almost 15 years ago. They were quickly eradicated by our trusty state ag. dept. (I was asked at the time not to mention it to anyone, least of all the press, so I didn’t, knowing how “apocalyptic” the reporting would be.). Those two colonies had come in with grass sod brought in from Arkansas.
But, southeastern Missouri has a distincly “Dixie” air and lay of the land about it. The biota contains many species found throughout the Southeastern US, but not elsewhere in Missouri. So it has always seemed to me only a matter of time before fire ants became established there, whether arriving on their own, or aided by human transport.