Medically the evaluation by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI — created by Elea Carey — updated on September 18, 2018

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Red imported fire ants aren’t an alleged to be in the united States, however these attention pests have actually made us at house here. If you space stung by fire ants, you will do it probably know it. They swarm onto her skin and also their stings feel choose fire.

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Fire ants selection in shade from red-brown to black, and also grow as much as 1/4 inch in length. They develop nests or mounds about 1 foot high, generally in grassy locations like lawns and pastures. Unlike most anthills, fire ant nests don’t have actually just one entrance. The ants crawl everywhere the hill.

Fire ants are an extremely aggressive once their colony is disturbed. If provoked, they swarm top top the viewed intruder, anchor themselves by biting to organize the skin stable, and then sting repeatedly, injecting a toxin alkaloid venom referred to as solenopsin. We refer to this activity as “stinging.”

Fire ant nests are like tiny cities, sometimes containing as many as 200,000 ants, follow to Texas A&M University. Within these busy colonies, woman workers maintain the nest’s structure and also feed your young. Masculine drones breed with the queen or queens. Once young majesties mature in neighborhoods with more than one queen, they fly off with males come create new nests.


Red imported fire ants pertained to the United claims by accident in the 1930s. They have flourished in the southern states and also moved north due to the fact that they had actually no neighborhood predators. There are fire ants native to the joined States, but they are not as dangerous or hard to eliminate as red fire imported ants.

Fire ants deserve to withstand just around any challenge. Researchers at the college of Arkansas found that it would certainly take two weeks that temperatures listed below 10°F (-12°C) come kill whole colony. If fire ants kill and also eat various other insects like continuous ants, they have additionally been recognized to live ~ above crops and also animals. Fire ants have the right to even form nests top top water and float them to dried locations.


If fire ants sting you, possibilities are you’ll know. They assault in swarms, gyeongju up upright surfaces (such together your leg) once their swarms are disturbed. Every fire ant have the right to sting several times.

To recognize fire ant stings, look at for groups of puffy red point out that develop a blister top top the top. Stings hurt, itch, and last up to a week. Some civilization have dangerous allergic reactions come stings and also will must seek immediate medical help.


Treat gentle sting reactions by washing the impacted area through soap and water and covering it v a bandage. Using ice deserve to reduce the pain. Object treatments incorporate over-the-counter steroid creams and also antihistamines to mitigate pain and itch.

Texas A&M college recommends a house remedy equipment of fifty percent bleach, fifty percent water. Other residence remedies encompass diluted ammonium solution, aloe vera, or astringents choose witch hazel. This remedies might offer some relief, however there is no hard proof to assistance their use.

The sting and bite marks need to go away in about a week. Scratching can reason the impacted area to end up being infected, which can make sting and bite marks critical longer.


Anyone can build an allergy to fire ant stings, although world who’ve to be stung before are at higher risk. An allergic reaction have the right to be fatal. Signs of a dangerous allergy reaction include:

sudden challenge breathing

Symptoms develop quickly ~ exposure. It’s an essential to gain emergency medical treatment if you experience indicators of an allergy reaction to a fire ant sting.

If you have actually a severe allergy, over there are affiliated long-term treatments, including whole body extract immunotherapy. Throughout this process, an allergist-immunologist injects ant extracts and venom into your skin. Over time, your sensitivity to the extracts and venom must decrease.


The best method to prevent fire ant stings is to remain away from fire ants. If you view a nest, resist the temptation come disturb it. Wear shoes and also socks once working and also playing outside. If friend are attacked by fire ants, move away native the nest and also brush the ants off v a fabric or when wearing gloves for this reason they can not sting your hands.

Fire ant colonies are difficult to destroy. There space some poison baits the when applied regularly may eliminate fire ants. The most common is a pesticide called piretherine. The ideal time to usage bait against fire ants is throughout the fall, when ants are less active. Expert pest control companies act fire ants whereby they space common. Dousing a fire ant hill with boiling water can additionally be reliable for killing the ants, but it is also likely to reason the survivors to attack.

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Fire ants are a cultivation problem in the southern United States. Protect against them whenever friend can, and also take straightforward protective actions when walking outside, such together wearing shoes and socks. It is in on the lookout because that a major allergic reaction in anyone who has been stung, and get emergency medical help if needed.


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Medically the evaluation by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI — composed by Elea Carey — update on September 18, 2018