Fire ants are just part of life here in the southern US. They are everywhere, but most of the time if they are left alone you don’t have a problem. Well, last week I couldn’t leave them alone — I had to get my grapevines in the ground. What resulted is an ugly reminder of these invasive pests. Although they these look painful they really don’t hurt all that much. The primary issue is secondary infection, but if one keeps them clean then they heal up in a reasonable amount of time. This link has really great information and photos on fire ant stings: http://msucares.com/insects/fireants/sting.html. Below are some of my own wounds.
Dr. Blake Layton wrote a fact sheet on how to control fire ants in fruit operations, that link is here: http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p2494.pdf