Fire ants were introduced to the United States from Brazil decades ago. They are a widely feared stinging pest, but many people are misinformed about their habits. There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the question of whether they bite or sting. Here’s the catch: they do both!
Fire ants are known to inflict extremely painful welts. Once an ant is on your skin, it bites in order to hold its body in place. This bite only feels like a small pinch, but the pain from the sting that follows is excruciating. Held steady by its strong jaws, a fire ant will pierce your skin with its abdominal stinger and begin to release venom. If fire ants aren’t removed from your skin quickly enough, they’ll pivot around on your skin, repeatedly piercing and injecting venom over and over.
These stinging insects don’t go out in search of human blood. Biting and stinging is only a response to a threat. If you step on a fire ant nest, you’re sure to end up with some nasty stings. The best mechanism against a fire ant attack is a comprehensive pest control plan for your property. This will reduce the chance of encountering fire ant in your yard.
How Do You Know if You Have a Fire Ant Bite or Sting?
Unless immediately brushed off, a fire ant always follows a bite with a sting. If you to manage to brush the fire ant off before it stings, you’ll only suffer some minor irritation from the bite. A fire ant sting leaves behind a bright red raised welt. After some time, the venom from the sting will cause a small white pustule to develop in the center of the affected area. Pustules often take about a week to fade away.
Fire ant stings are painful, irritating, and very itchy. If you’re stung, you’ll immediately feel a strong burning sensation which can be accompanied by itchiness and other discomfort. Many people suffer complications from fire ant stings because of incessant itching. Scratching weakens and breaks the affected skin, opening it up to infection. Avoid scratching your sting and it should heal without complication.
Treating a Fire Ant Sting
Remember that fire ants can cause an allergic reaction that is life threatening for some. A small percentage of the population is so allergic to fire ants that in the instance of a fire ant attack, they’ll suffer from anaphylaxis. If you know that you’re one of these people and you live in an at-risk area, you may want to carry an EpiPen with you. If you begin to suffer from symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, hives, or difficulty breathing following attack form fire ants, contact a medical professional at once.
Regardless of your allergy level, the first thing you should do if you see a fire ant on your skin is brush it off. If the ant has already latched onto your skin, use more pressure and swift brushing movements until the ant falls off. Act quickly! Remember that fire ants can sting repeatedly, so don’t expect one to leave your skin after the first sting.
Fire ant stings can cause a wide radius of swelling. If you’re stung on your palm, for example, your entire hand may swell for several days. You don’t need to be alarmed by this unless the swelling is accompanied by more serious side effects, such as additional swelling in other parts of your body or your throat.
If you have a fire ant sting (or a few) you can relieve the pain and irritation to make healing easier. Take antihistamine pills, try an antihistamine cream, or use a cold compresses to reduce inflammation and sensation in the affected area.
How to Avoid Fire Ant Stings
People most often suffer from fire ant stings as a result of inattentiveness out in nature. If you choose to wear sandals outside, be careful of where you step. Activities such as gardening, sleeping outside, and playing in the grass require extra attention. If your children like to play in the yard, make sure to work with a licensed professional who checks your yard periodically for dangerous insects.
Fire ants will only sting if they feel threatened. Remain cautious and wary of fire ant holes. Stepping on a hole is the most threatening thing that you can do to these stinging insects. Choose boots instead of sandals as often as possible. Tuck your pants into the boots so that fire ants don’t have access to your skin. Most importantly, contact a professional for removal the minute that you become aware of a fire ant nest on your property.
Remove Stinging Pests From Your Property
Eliminating pests requires the right knowledge, and there isn’t anyone more knowledgeable about stinging pests than a trained professional. There are many risks associated with coming into contact with stinging pests. If you suspect that you have bees, hornets, or fire ants on your property, we recommend contacting a professional immediately.
Here at Home Pest Control, we take your family’s safety seriously. We’ll assess your property and eliminate dangerous pest populations immediately. We do this in an environmentally friendly manner that keeps your family safe from both pests and dangerous chemicals. We’ll work with you to devise a long term plan to keep stinging insects out of your yard and home.
When it comes to stinging insects, the more you know, the better! To learn more about stinging insects and how to avoid them, download our free resource on stinging pests below.