Swiss researchers have helped decipher the genome of an aggressive fire ant, which they hope will make it possible to fight the pest effectively for the first time.

The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), a native of South America, lives in huge colonies and destroys useful native insects. Its sting is also very painful to human beings.

It is estimated to cause $5 billion worth of damage every year in the United States alone, including loss of crops and livestock.

Genome research could combat ant pest