There are no true fire ants in Canada or the northeastern United States. The term “fire ants” refers to a select group of ant species in the genus Solenopsis.
S. W. Taber, in his book Fire Ants (Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 2000), provides distribution maps for the six true fire ant species that occur in the United States. These species are not found in the northern half of the United States or in Canada.
Two other ants commonly called “fire ants” are unrelated to the Solenopsis fire ants:
- The little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, occurs in Hawaii and has been found in greenhouses in Canada. (See www.littlefireants.com and Featured Creatures: Little Fire Ant.)
- The European fire ant, Myrmica rubra, was accidentally introduced into North America and has now been found in parts of Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington D. C., Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. For more information, see Featured Creatures: European Fire Ant.
There are other ant species in Canada and the northeastern United States, and some could possibly sting. However, none are as aggressive as the red and black imported fire ants found in the southern United States.