Fire Ant Bites and Stings: First Aid and Treatments

Treatment for Fire Ant Bites and Stings

The red imported fire ant was brought to the United States from Brazil in the 1930s and has spread relatively unchecked throughout the southeastern region of the country, appearing as far west as California. Several factors have contributed to the dominance of the imported red fire ant in the United States.

Fire Ant Bite
Fire Ant Bite

Imported red fire ants dwell in large numbers and react aggressively to combat threats to their colonies. Red fire ants are generally omnivorous, feeding on proteins, honeydew, seeds and most foods found in homes. Their stings are employed in defense or aggression. A red fire ant will secure itself to its prey with a pair of clamplike mandibles. Once secured, the ant will use its abdominal stinger to inject alkaloid venom into the victim. The ant can deliver multiple stings, pivoting in a circle until it is brushed off or until its victim dies.

The bite of a red fire ant produces a burning or stinging sensation. Stings first manifest as red welts. If no treatment is administered, the red bumps will turn into white pustules, which carry a risk of infection. If infected, they can leave scars.

Fire Ant Bite Treatment

Potential first aid for fire ant bites includes over-the-counter products for itching or pain and cold compresses. If a fire ant sting victim experiences allergic symptoms, such as headaches, nausea or dizziness, or difficulty breathing, professional medical treatment should be sought immediately.

In the event that fire ants are present on your property,  it is advised that you contact a local pest control professional to remove the threat of future attacks.

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