IFA can be only distinguished from other southern ants by professionals using magnifying equipment. Adult RIFA are reddish to dark brown and range from 1/8 to 1/2 inches long.
Fire ant mounds vary in size but are usually in direct proportion to the size of the colony. For example, a mound that is 2 feet in diameter and 18 inches high may contain 100,000 workers, several hundred winged adults and one queen.
One of the identifying characteristics of a RIFA colony is the earthen nest or mound, with a hard rain-resistant crust.
RIFA respond rapidly and aggressively to any disturbance of the colony. A single fire ant can sting repeatedly and will continue to do so even after their venom sac has been depleted. Initially, the stings result in a localized intense burning sensation followed by the formation of a white pustule at the sting site within 24 - 48 hours.
Fire ants prefer oily and greasy foods and forage for sweets, proteins, and fats. They also feed on many other insects, as well as earthworms and carrion. Workers forage around their mound often in underground tunnels that radiate from the mound.