Pat Shingleton: "The Name saus It All..."
We're certainly familiar with fire ants that seem to tolerate every type of weather in the South. If they can't stay above ground in warm weather they're underground for the cold weather. The fast-breeding pests have no-natural enemies outside South America and have spread through 159 counties in Georgia. Before the discovery of fire ants in northwest Georgia's Floyd County, scientists thought they would not be able to live in the northern part of the state. Even though fire ants have a vicious sting they're not fatal to humans but can kill newborn deer. They've been known to damage farm machinery and feed on crop seedlings. Researchers believed that fire ants were unable to survive in the cold, north Georgia mountains. In 1985, a Floyd County extension agent discovered a colony that turned out to be a hybrid of the red and black ant. This new variety digs deeper and are adept at going underground to escape blustery winters.