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You are watching: Can you die from ant bites


Fire ants have the right to turn a blissful afternoon outside into one itchy, burn stream of misery. An attack from a fire ant typically causes instant, extreme pain. The pain easily gives method to itching and also skin irritation the lasts almost everywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days.


Although it looks as though fire ants bite as soon as they attack, the exactly term to usage is sting. Together a result, we will use words sting rather of bite in this article.

For most people, fire ant stings space little more than an inconvenience. However, part stings can create intense pain and itching.

Stings deserve to be life-threatening for civilization allergic come the venom of fire ants. A single sting can develop symptoms that anaphylaxis in simply a few minutes.


The ax fire ant refers to several varieties of stinging ants. Two imported varieties that reason problems in the United claims are:

Solenopsis invicta


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Share ~ above PinterestThere space two varieties of fire ant: Solenopsis invicta and also Solenopsis richteri.Image credit: Wing-Chi Poon
A native of southern America, Solenopsis invicta has conquered at the very least 13 claims in the U.S. This are largely in the southeast. Less than fifty percent an customs long and red to brown in color, the varieties is generally known as the red imported fire ant.

Red fire ants build mounds about 18 inches wide. These piles are often uncovered in grass or lawns, garden beds, along driveways, and also in other locations with ready accessibility to food. Lock eat both animals and a broad array of fruits and also vegetables.

these ants use their venom to stun their prey, allowing huge groups that fire ants to overcome lot larger animals quickly, such as box turtles.

Solenopsis richteri

additionally a aboriginal of south America, Solenopsis richteri is typically known as the black imported fire ant. Black fire ants have actually only travel to a couple of states in the Gulf Coast and also southeast, including Texas, Mississippi, and also Alabama.

black fire ants additionally build mounds. Theirs have tendency to be much larger than red fire ant mounds, regularly measuring number of feet tall. These ants are nearly identical to their red cousins in size and also shape however are black color or dark brown fairly than red brown.

Both species aggressively safeguard their mounds, biting intruders in large groups. Stings room common amongst gardeners, play children, and pets. Ants commonly continue attacking until their victims leaving the mound. Most civilization are bitten on your legs and feet ~ stepping ~ above a mound.

Unlike countless other varieties of stinging and also biting insects, ants deserve to sting many times. A solitary worker ant will certainly sting multiple times while attempting to defend their mound.


However, recent testing of fire ant venom suggests that the venom has poison the affects the concerned system. This may describe why some fire ant sting victim report hallucinations and also other comparable symptoms, particularly after gaining a big number the stings.

A fire ant sting often starts with an intense pinching or burn pain instantly after the sting. This ache is short-lived, lasting anywhere from a couple of seconds come a couple of minutes. Following comes itching or burn that may be mild or intense. Itching tends to gain stronger over the next couple of days. Many stings heal on their very own without treatment.

Fire ant stings produce a note that sets them apart from other insect stings. The wounds are pus-filled blisters that room round and also may look choose pimples.

together fire ants tend to strike their victim in groups, the stings frequently come in clusters. Blisters appear quickly, normally within 20 minutes of a fire ant attack.

Allergic reaction to fire ant stings

The blisters that build after fire ant stings are allergic reactions, however some world develop an ext severe reactions. The locations immediately neighboring the sting might swell, burn, or itch.

Anaphylaxis is less common, but can be life-threatening. People with severe allergies to fire ant gift typically develop symptoms within a couple of minutes after gift bitten.

The following symptoms require emergency clinical help:

Trouble with breathingDizzinessSwelling of the tongue or throatConfusionLoss of consciousness

If left untreated, these allergic reactions can cause the human body to go into shock.


Most people don’t need clinical treatment because that fire ant stings. If breathing is normal and also the sting victim is not well-known to have a significant ant sting allergy, the complying with home remedies have the right to be effective:

Applying cold compresses to reduce swelling – 20 minute on, 20 minute offUsing a hydrocortisone cream on the skin to relieve itching.Taking one antihistamine to regulate minor, localized allergic reactions and also itchingTaking an oatmeal bath to alleviate itching

it is important to resist the urge to scratch the stings. Scratching can open the blisters and also cause infection.

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Many that these treatments are available for purchase over the respond to or online, consisting of hydrocortisone cream, antihistamine, and also triple antibiotic ointment.

Medical remedies because that fire ant stings

breath difficulties, alters in consciousness, significant swelling, and similar symptoms within an hour that the sting require emergency clinical care. Emergency treatment v epinephrine deserve to reverse the reaction.

~ an anaphylactic reaction to fire ants, some doctors recommend transporting an EpiPen. This home devices inject epinephrine immediately after a sting. They have the right to be life-saving in the occasion of one more allergic reaction, or as soon as a reaction wake up in an area wherein medical help is not close by.

If the symptoms of a fire ant sting don’t walk away after a few days, medical treatment might be necessary. This is likewise the situation if there is swelling, extreme pain, or spreading redness top top the skin. Relying on the cause of the symptoms, a doctor may recommend hydrocortisone cream or hydrocortisone injections. Infected stings might require antibiotics.


The complying with steps can aid prevent fire ant stings and also reduce their severity:

Moving the end of an area automatically if bitten through a fire ant or fire ants are discovered on the bodyWearing protective apparel like thick socks and also boots while working outdoorsAvoiding job-related in or roughly fire ant mounds

world should not stomp ~ above fire ant mounds, even when put on protective clothing. Attacking mounds in this means can provoke one attack.

the is likewise important to check for fire ants indoors. Fire ants sometimes relocate inside to escape extreme weather conditions. If fire ants room indoors, master should consider seeking assist from a pest monitoring company.

Fire ants, children, and pets

Children and also pets are an ext at risk from fire ant stings since they space unaware that the threats of fire ant mounds. Pet may likewise bring fire ants within on their hair after a fire ant attack, making owners at danger from attacks.

Parents should talk to children around the risks of fire ants and also show lock what fire ant piles look like. They must teach youngsters to brush turn off fire ants as soon as they discover them crawling on their skin.

Removing clearly shows fire ant mounds and gating off locations where fire ants live can help protect pets. If a pet is assaulted by fire ants, it have to be relocated away from the ants.

Ants should be removed by hand. Spraying the ants with water may cause them to latch on through their jaws. This deserve to be frightening come a pet enduring an attack.