Harvester Ant Bites

ant sting appearance

Signs and Symptoms

While many of the more aggressive ant species bite, the primary reactions are caused by the sting and resulting injection of venom into the skin. Aggressive ants such as harvester ants are medically important since their targets are usually stung many times and in some cases are stung many times by a single ant.

Most sting symptoms are minor and involve moderate or intense pain that will go away within several hours. Other symptoms such as redness and swelling occur around the sting site. Depending on the age of the person stung, the number of stings inflicted and the degree of allergic reaction to the ant’s venom, more serious symptoms and perhaps anaphylaxis may occur. Anaphylaxis is a complex response, but simply stated is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that may occur within a very short period of time after exposure to an allergen. Signs of an allergic reaction may include sneezing, wheezing, hives, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sudden anxiety, dizziness, difficulty breathing, chest tightness and itching or swelling of the eyes, lips or other areas of the face, rapid loss of blood pressure, fainting and coma. In general, if a person is highly allergic to wasp and bee stings, they are usually highly allergic to ant stings.

Always seek the advice and assistance of a physician if bitten or stung by ants.