Ants are unsightly insects. They live in huge colonies and are one of the most populated insects in the world with hundreds of different species found worldwide. Recently the ant has become better recognized as a pest we need to carefully control. Certain species have the potential to destroy your home, however, have we considered what they could do to us personally? Namely, do ants bite? Unfortunately, they do, and the bite can actually be rather painful. We’ll talk you through the ant species to keep a careful eye on, and what to do if you end up being bitten. Afterwards, it’s best to decide if it’s time to call in pest control experts.
Which Ants Will Bite You?
The good news is that most of the ant species found in Ontario are extremely unlikely to bite you: their jaws simply aren’t strong enough to bite through human skin. The majority of them are much more interested in building colonies and finding food. Some species will specialize in terrorizing the structures of your home. Black carpenter ants, if provoked, can inflict a weak and harmless bite. On the other hand, there is no mistaking the bite of a European fire ant. If you hear anybody complaining about an itchy, burning ant sting, then it’s almost certain to be a European fire ant bite.
The European Fire Ant
The European fire ant was accidentally introduced to North America in the early 1900s, and what a mistake it was. The worker ants tend to be the smallest, around 4-5mm long, and are normally a dark red color. They live under leaves piles and mud, constructing underground tunnels to move around their colony. European fire ants build nests in moist soil normally near a body of water. Shockingly, if they live in multi-queen colonies, their nests can have a population of up to 300,000 ants.
This species of ant is naturally aggressive and will kill surrounding insects and small animals for food. They aren’t capable of killing humans, but if you disturb their nest, you’re likely to receive a sharp, nasty bite and sting. After biting your skin and pinching your tissue, they’ll insert their stinger. As the name would suggest, they inject a burning venom which can be very uncomfortable.
What to Do if You’re Bitten
If bitten, you’ll find that your skin will rise and swell, become very red and itchy and will definitely create a unique burning sensation. These ants can attack in swarms and therefore you could end up with several painful stings all over your body.
If your bite is a nasty one, there’s a good chance you’ll also end up with a fluid-filled blister. However, after the burning and swelling has died down, you’re unlikely to have anything to worry about with a European ant sting. Within one to two weeks the blister should disappear and you’ll have no evidence of the sting except for a bad memory and a desire to avoid the nest in future.
That being said, if you’re one of very few humans that have an allergic reaction to the venom in a European fire ant sting, then the bite suddenly becomes much more serious. Allergic reactions to the sting can result in a loss of breath, nausea and serious swelling. Immediate treatment is required before complications arise and the sting potentially becomes fatal.
Regardless of the ant species, you may find on your property, it’s normally going to be very difficult to remove. Here at Truly Nolen our expert pest control technicians will do the hard work for you by efficiently removing any invasive ant species you find in your home.