What Makes The Imported Fire Ant (IFA) So Tough?
Human Health - 1998
Fire ants are a continuing community health threat in SC. The elderly, children, and youth have the highest incidence of IFA stings. Bedridden or incapacitated patients and infants are at particular risk since they cannot easily remove fire ants from their bodies. Limited resource citizens are impacted much more than others in IFA infested areas. Tourists and new residents from non-infested areas are other high-risk groups.
Wildlife Impacts - 1998
Direct impacts occur on native game and non-game species and are documented on: bobwhite quail; nesting turtles; Southeastern kestrels; colonial waterbirds; other threatened or endangered species.
Imported fire ants indirectly impact species in infested areas by: reducing the number of insects available to insectivorous invertebrates; irritation from stings; habitat denial; possible behavioral changes. Indirect impacts are documented on: Bobwhite quail; American alligators; turtles; small mammals; loggerhead shrikes.
Imported fire ants affect ecological functioning by disrupting seed dispersal and pollination. These impacts occur throughout the wildlife communities and may affect the viability and integrity of the communities.
Household Economic Impacts - 1998
A 1998 survey of 809 SC households is being used to derive objective estimates of the household-related impact of IFA on the SC economy, and SC households' willingness to pay for IFA control.
The amount homeowners are willing to pay is expected to be greater than their expenditures for control and remediation since the expenditure data do not reflect the time involved in control and remediation, or the value of outdoor activities that are curtailed by the fire ants.