Do Ants Really Bite?
Summer is coming and so are the ants, but do ants bite and what are the ones you need to worry about this summer.
Do all ants bite and if so what ones do?
There are several species of ants numbering in the thousands, across the world and US. The ones you’ll see most often are black ants, and among them most commonly carpenter ants. Depending on where you live you might also encounter fire ants, which are usually red.
With thousands of ant species it can be hard to say exactly what an ant will do based on it’s color, but with the most common ones you’ll encounter, the fire ant variety tend to be more dangerous and aggressive especially compared to their carpenter and black ant counter parts.
Black ants and Carpenter ants do bite, but it’s usually only going to be because they are threatened. Maybe you accidentally stepped on a cluster of them for example.
Ant’s jaws have evolved to be able to chew through wood so their tiny bites can pack a punch! Some also release a small amount of formic acid, which isn’t too strong, but causes similar results to a bee sting.
For the most part, you will need to be more concerned about carpenter ants causing structural damage around your home rather than them trying to bite you. They can cause damage to structural wood in and around your home like decks and patios, that is distinct from termite damage since termites eat the wood and carpenter ants harvest the wood.
A vicious ant you might live near
Fire ants are another common ant you might find near your home, and they are definitely more frequently associated with “biting” people, but it’s actually usually a sting rather than a bite. They do however, have the ability to bite as well as sting so be careful of these pests if you come across them.
There sting has a significantly higher degree of pain associated with it than your typical ant, and the bites also have some unique side effects as well. For some people who are extremely sensitive to these stings, the side effects can actually be deadly.
Although typically when stung, the site will have a burning sensation, (hence where the name fire ant comes from), as well as swelling, and even seep pus for several days. Gross!
These pests tend to make their home in the southern states across the US, and the most common species is called the Red Imported Fire Ant. These are quite dangerous to humans and it is estimated that over billion dollars annually is spent on medical treatments, damage repair, and pest control options to keep these ants in check. The damages range in areas from injuries, crop damage, livestock damage, and more.
Fire ants can grow into major issues quickly as well. A single Fire ant queen can lay over 1500 eggs a day and one queen can turn into thousands of ants almost overnight. If you are having issues with fire ants we recommend reaching out to a professional pest control service, since they can be quite dangerous.
The Most Dangerous Ant…The Bullet Ant
Interestingly enough, there was a scientist who thought it would be a good idea to be bitten and stung by as many insects he could find and develop a pain scale and rank the bites and stings based on how painful they were.
This definitely sounds like a terrible job, but he eventually created the “Schmidt Sting Pain Index.” A bullet ant’s bite actually takes the top spot on the chart and that’s also where it got its name because people who have been bitten describe it as though they were shot.
Thankfully you probably won’t be seeing this ant in your back yard anytime soon as they live in the balmy rainforests of Central America. Overall you shouldn’t have much to fear with ants in general, unless you are threatening them, as most ants typically only bite and sting as a defense mechanism.
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