Red Flying Ant

Red Flying Ant

Red flying ants are not a particular species of ant. Many different ant species produce flying males and females (queens) in order to reproduce. The flying ants swarm and mate, and the fertilized queens will then loose their wings and start up new ant colonies. Red flying ants are therefore males and females produced by a colony of red ants. Red ants are also commonly known as Fire ants, since they can deliver a very potent sting.

Red Flying Ant – Classification
When you see a red flying ant, it can belong to any of over 280 different species. All the red ant species and subspecies are found in the genus Solenopsis in the tribe Solenopsidini. All members of the genus Solenopsis have a single median set on the anterior clypeal margin.

Red Flying Ant – Nuptial Flights
Red flying ants are male and female red ants that participate in so called nuptial flights. During a nuptial flight, the two sexes will meet and mate. This happens every year, but small and newly established red ant colonies might not participate since most species of ant wait until the colony have become comparatively large before they produce any fertile males and females. After the nuptial flight, the female red flying ant will loose her wings and start looking for a suitable place to form a new nest. The male red flying ants will die shortly after mating. Several female red flying ants will sometimes form a colony together, but only one of them will survive. Within a year, a single queen can have created a colony consisting of thousands of ants.   

Red Flying Ant – Sting
Just like the wingless red ants, the flying red ants can deliver a very potent sting. Most species of ant will bite you and spray formic acid over the wound, but the red ants, including the red flying ants, are different. Flying red ants should always be avoided since they will use their jaws to get a stable grip and then inject toxic alkaloid venom from the abdomen. The venom has several interesting qualities; it is for instance both insecticidal and antibiotic. Ant experts have therefore suggested that the venom is not only a way of protecting the nest and individual ants against attackers; nurse ants might also spray it over the offspring to protect egg and pupae from malicious micro organisms. 

Red Flying Ant – First Aid
Red flying ant venom can cause severe pain, but is essentially harmless for humans. Some individuals are however much more sensitive to red flying ant venom than others and to them a red flying ant bite can be lethal due to anaphylaxis.

The typical red flying ant bite symptom is swollen bump that gradually turns into a white pustule. The pain can also be severe and itching is common. It is common for victims to be bitten by a large number of flying red ants simultaneously; an attack that naturally will result in a multitude of irritating bumps and/or pustules. If you want to reduce the pain, you can apply a solution containing 50 percent bleach and 50 percent water directly after being bitten. If you manage to brush of a biting fire ant before any venom is injected, no pustule will develop.

Pustules caused by flying red ant venom will usually go a way without any further treatment, but as with any type of wound there is always a risk of infection. Keeping the pustules clean and carefully checking for early signs of infection is therefore recommended. If itching persists, antihistamine or topical corticosteroids can be applied.

Ant Articles:

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


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