Tyler, TX (KETK) — They don't even belong in this country.
But since they have been here for over seventy years, many people think they are a part of our natural environment.
Fire ants made their way to the United States in the late 1930's on a cargo ship from South America to Mobil Alabama.
From there, the insects spread, and of course have found their way here to East Texas.
Fire ants eat young plants and seeds, which is why many East Texans have a problem with the creatures.
And if you have ever mistakenly stepped into one of their mounds, then you have felt their wrath.
Fire ants have also been known to kill small animals, which is why experts believe some of East Texas' native creatures have been moved out of the area.