Have you ever experienced a fire ant bite? If yes, then you must be aware of how irritating and painful it can be. As a matter of fact, the rate of fire ant bites incidents is increasing, especially in southern regions. You should, therefore, know some facts about ants:
Anyone who has ever been bitten by fire ants knows the answer to this question. That person will say that the bite hurts very much and it seems that they crawl up your feet onto your legs and bite all at once. But the pain is not the only danger borne by these ants for humans and pets.
“2 in 1” type of sting.
Fire ant poison is a real chemical compound. It contains the chemicals which destroy skin cells (hence the white fluid-filled pseudo-pustule, redness, and itching). According to the scientists from the University of Florida, “Approximately 95% of the venom is composed of these alkaloids, which are responsible for both the pain and white pustule that appears approximately one day after the sting occurs. The remainder of the venom contains an aqueous solution of proteins, peptides, and other small molecules that produce the allergic reaction in hypersensitive individuals”. Humans may experience not only the stinging sensation, but they can get huge red swells and even white ulcers. Later they turn into scars which don’t heal for several weeks.
Fire ant poison is especially dangerous for those with allergies (it’s about 1% of the population). It contains a strong mix of allergens and is not inferior in this respect to the bees’ and wasps’ poison. In the “best case scenario” a patient will suffer from dizziness, nausea, excessive sweating, and itching.The worsening of preexisting cardiopulmonary disease, serum sickness, seizures, mononeuritis, nephrotic syndrome also may be associated with fire ant bites. The worst scenario is angioedema, a condition that is often lethal. An instant anaphylactic shock also occurs frequently. In general, you won’t do without the help of special medicine and experienced doctors.
They hurt pets.
These ants are aggressive. And often they get on pets and livestock and bite them vigorously. Since dogs, cows and horses cannot shake or swat them off their body, these ants can cause serious injuries and distress.
They spoil food.
Fire ants can get into the kitchen or to the vegetable garden bed. According to the scientists from the University of Florida, the diet of foraging workers consists of dead animals, including insects, earthworms, and vertebrates. Workers also collect honeydew and will forage for sweets, proteins, and fats in homes. They are sometimes attracted to piles of dirty laundry. Larvae are fed only a liquid diet until they reach the third instar. When the larvae reach the fourth instar, they are able to digest solid foods. Worker ants will bring solid food rich in protein and deposit it in a depression in front of the mouth of the larvae. The larvae will secrete digestive enzymes that break down the solid food and regurgitate it back to worker ants. The queen is fed some of the digested protein to support egg production. As long as food is plentiful, egg production is at its maximum. Yay! More ants!
Suppose they have bitten you. What should your reaction be?
FYI: Don’t hit fire ants; it will only make them angry. Brush them carefully with your hands and off your body to the ground. They bite every 5-10 seconds, so hurry up!
Never Pop the Blister! Just within a few hours, a blister will appear on the affected part of the skin with a dreggy fluid inside it. Never pop it with your nails. And if it somehow pops by itself, immediately remove the fluid from your skin. You can clean it with some rubbing alcohol and apply a triple antibiotic ointment.
So, you need to perform some important steps:
1. Wash the Affected Part of the Skin
Wash the affected part of the skin with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol. It not only helps remove all kind of dirt particles from the skin which could have caused further infection but also soothes fire ant bites by neutralizing the acidic sting. This helps controlling swelling as well.
2. Control the Swelling and the Itching
The first thing you would do is control fire ant bites swelling by raising the attacked body part above your chest level. For example, if it bites you on your hand or wrist, try raising it so that the blood flow to this part of the body is minimized and the swelling process is slowed down.
Don’t scratch bites! If microbes get into wounds, this can result in secondary infection.Itching can be immediately controlled by putting an ice pack over the infected area. This helps to control that intense itching and pain. If itching is awful, use such products as StingEze Dauber for a – this low-cost remedy is recommended by scientists because it helps to eliminate pain & itching and reduces infection. Or you may apply Benadryl Itch Relief Spray : it’s a multipurpose remed.
OR You may also try traditional methods. A mixture of baking soda and water may also work.
3. Take Antihistamine if you Need
Antihistamine pills (such as benadryl) help to fight allergic reactions and are an excellent fire ant bites remedy. Take these drugs (as recommended by the doctor) before it swells too much. This will help control the itching, pain, and swelling at early stages. Be careful as antihistamine drugs can make you sleepy, make sure you are not needing to drive.
You may spray insect repellent containing DEET onto your shoes and lower pants leg. This may help deter foraging fire ants from climbing onto the legs, it’s a good advice from scientists.
Read our review of the best outdoor and indoor fire ant killers – “7 Best Fire Ants Killers: a Review of Traps, Gels and Insecticides”.