Fire Ant Bite

Fire Ant Bite

Fire Ant Bite – the venom
Most species of ant will bite you, create a wound and then spray the injured area with formic acid. The fire ants are however different. A fire ant will bite you and use its jaws to get a good grip. It will then sting you from the abdomen and inject toxic alkaloid venom. If you manage to brush away the fire ant when it bits you, before it manages to deliver its venomous sting, the symptoms will be much less severe. It would actually be more appropriate to talk about fire ant stings than fire ant bites, since it is not the bite itself that cause the harsh symptoms. In everyday speech, we do however rarely distinguish between fire ant bite and fire ant sting. Unlike a bee, a fire ant is capable of stinging you several times in a row. It is not uncommon for unfortunate victims to receive up to eight fire ant bite / stings from the same fire ant.

The fire ant venom has several interesting properties; it is for instance insecticidal as well as antibiotic. Fire ant experts therefore suspect that this venom has not only evolved as a defence mechanism against large predators, it might also be used to protect eggs and pupae from harmful micro organisms. One theory suggests that nurse ants spray their venom all over the eggs and pupae inside the fire ant nest and thereby keep the offspring safe from bacteria etcetera.

Fire Ant Bite – common symptoms
As mentioned earlier, one single fire ant can deliver up to eight fire ant bite / stings in a row before it runs out of venom. One of the first symptoms associated with fire ant bites are therefore several red spots; typically arranged in a circular pattern.

The pain emanating from a fire ant bite is usually burning, which is why they are called fire ants. The pain can be very strong and intense, but will rarely require any medical attention since the human body can break down the venom quite rapidly. In addition to pain and redness, itching is a very common fire ant bite symptom. The pain as well as the itching will typically last less than one hour.

Swelling is another common fire ant bite symptom. The swelling will usually last longer than the pain and the itching; typically one or two days.

A few hours after the fire ant bite attack, the bitten area can develop white pustules. These pustules can stay for quite a long period of time – from a few days to several weeks. They will usually dry up without any medical treatment, but it is always a good idea to keep them clean and carefully check for any signs of infection. 
Fire Ant Bite – severe symptoms
If you are allergic to red fire ant venom, a fire ant bite can result in anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a very serious reaction that requires immediate medical attention. If left untreated, anaphylaxis is often lethal. Common symptoms of anaphylaxis are swelling of the throat or face, nausea, dizziness, severe chest pain, low blood pressure, severe sweating and slurred speech.

Ant Articles:

Carpenter Ants
Carpenter Ant Control
Kill Carpenter Ants
Fire Ants
Kill Fire Ants
Flying Ants
Red Flying Ants
Kill Flying Ants
Types of ant insect


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