An amazing sculpture is made by pouring molten aluminum into a fire ant colony. The resulting cast is huge, weighing 17.9 lbs. and reaching a depth of 18 inches. These are the red imported fire ants (RIFA) which are harmful to the environment and their nests are exterminated by the millions in the United States using poisons, gasoline and fire, boiling water, and very rarely molten aluminum.
Fire ant is the common name for several species of ants in the genus Solenopsis. They are, however, only a minority in the genus, which includes over 200 species of Solenopsis worldwide.
Although most fire ant species do not bother people and are not invasive, Solenopsis invicta, known in the United States as the red imported fire ant (or RIFA) is an invasive pest in many areas of the world, notably the United States, Australia, China and Taiwan. The RIFA was believed to have been accidentally introduced to these countries via shipping crates, particularly with Australia when they were first found in Brisbane in 2001. These ants have now since been spotted in Sydney for the first time.
In the US the FDA estimates that more than US$ 5 billion is spent annually on medical treatment, damage, and control in RIFA-infested areas. Furthermore, the ants cause approximately $750 million in damage annually to agricultural assets, including veterinarian bills and livestock loss, as well as crop loss. Over 40 million people live in RIFA-infested areas in the southeastern United States. Between 30 and 60% of people living in fire ant-infested areas are stung each year. RIFA are currently found in humid southeastern USA states including parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.