Will a hard winter kill fire ants?

Imported Fire Ants October 01, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Fire ants can't survive for prolonged periods in conditions that freeze soil as deep as they are nesting. In the Deep South, it is unlikely that low winter temperatures will affect fire ant populations. However, at their extreme northern range, winters could be cold enough to significantly affect populations.

Ultimately, cold winter temperatures will limit how far north fire ants can spread. Generally, minimum temperatures below 10 degrees F are required to affect populations.

Sustained cold temperatures in late fall or early winter might be expected to have a greater impact than later in the winter.



  • Vogt, J. T., W. A. Smith, D. B. Jones, and R. E. Wright. 2001. Feasibility of dragging pastures for control of Solenopsis invicta Buren, the red imported fire ant, in Oklahoma. Southwestern Entomologist 26: 339-344.
  • Vogt, J. T., W. A. Smith, R. A. Grantham, and R. E. Wright. 2003. Effects of temperature and season on Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) foraging in Oklahoma. Environmental Entomology 32: 447-451.


Related Content


Find more information about fire ants in eXtension's Imported Fire Ant Resource Area.

QR code. 

Connect with us

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest


This is where you can find research-based information from America's land-grant universities enabled by eXtension.org



This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.