Fire ants are quite unpleasant little creatures known for their aggressive behavior towards those whom they consider intruders of their nests. These insects won’t hesitate attacking anything or anybody who threatens them: wild animals and their babies, people and their pets. In some cases they can even kill their victim, that’s why this insect is considered to be rather dangerous.
The bites of red ants (as they often called) are pretty painful and affect up to 40 % of people residing in the infested locations every year. The statistics is really impressing and terrifying: it’s reported that up to twenty million Americans are stung by the ants each year!
Fire ants are the insects that have to be watched out and thoroughly avoided by people. As soon as these pesky tiny creatures invade some area, they start acting with extreme aggression. As a rule they arrive in enormous number and pretty soon reduce dramatically the number of other insects, native ants’ populations and even local wildlife nesting on the ground.
It’s unbelievable but these tiny insects can really bring enormous damage and seriously spoil the life of locals, both humans and animals. They will also damage crops in the fields and expensive electrical equipment. These disastrous actions cost people billions of dollars in eradication and repair works each year. That’s why you should call extermination service as soon as you notice at least one of these unpleasant creatures.
What are the Symptoms of Fire Ants’ Bites?
Talking about fire ants’ bites one thing can be said for sure: if you get stung by the insects you will most probably know it and it’s going to be far not pleasant experience. The ants just swarm into their victim’s skin and sting giving impression of fire impact on your body.
In most cases the ants attack people when they see danger to their nests. They will simply attack you in huge swarms, rapidly climbing up your legs. They are extremely determined and aggressive and that is more – each of them can bite you several times.
The symptoms are quite evident in most cases. To identify the red ants’ bites simply study your skin and look for a row of swollen reddish spots that develop blisters in time. The stings may annoy you up to one week! They itch and hurt quite noticeably. But what is the worst in this situation is that some people may develop dangerous allergic reactions to the fire ants’ stings and emergent medical assistance will be required.
Keep in mind that anyone can develop dangerous allergy for the bites of these pesky insects at any time, and those who have been stung by them previously bear higher risks. The allergic reaction can become fatal for some people, so you better know the symptoms of this reaction and provide assistance to yourself in case you notice any of them.
The signs of developing allergic reaction to the ants’ stings include abrupt difficulty with swallowing and breathing. You might also have dizziness or even nausea. The symptoms as a rule develop very quickly after you’ve been attacked, thus it’s critical to get medical assistance and treatment as soon as you notice any signs of the bites or allergic reaction.
How to Treat Fire Ants Bites?
First thing you must remember is that in no case you should scratch the bites! The place of the sting is extremely prone to infection and as a result more serious treatment will be needed. That is more – you may end up with a permanent scarring.
To treat the bites you will need the following:
- Running water;
- Soap (preferably antibacterial);
- Some after-bite treatment;
- Antibiotic ointment;
- Hydrocortisone cream;
If your reaction to the bites is mild and you do not see any signs of developing allergy to it, you might cope with the bites yourself at home. But to make sure you are 100 % protected, take some antihistamine remedy first hand after you’ve been stung. Then follow these steps and you’ll be able to relieve your condition and avoid unpleasant consequences. Remember, the quicker you act- the more chances to avoid them!
- Immediately after you’ve got attacked by the insects apply any of anti-bite medicine that is available at any drug store over-the-counter. It will help you reduce firing pain and persisting itching.
- Wait about ten minutes to give the medicine time to start working, wash the body area that has been affected with much water and antibacterial soap. Spend several minutes scrubbing your skin before you rinse it thoroughly with water. Doing so will sufficiently reduce the chances of getting infection.
- Use antiseptic solution such as popular and effective Betadine. If it’s not available, opt for hydrogen peroxide. Allow the solution to air dry, but do not blow to hasten the drying process, you’ll only make the bite spot contaminated with bacteria.
- Fire ants’ bites are pretty poisonous. If after all you’ve already done itching is still unbearable, use hydrocortisone cream: apply a thin layer of the treatment on the site.
- Apply some antibiotic ointment on the damages site and then cover it with lose bandage. If the pain is unbearable you can apply some ice on the stung spot to reduce it. You can also use some steroid creams to relieve itch and pain.
- You should repeat all the steps several times daily until you feel you are fully healed. The signs of bites and their affects should disappear in about a week. It might take longer, however, if you got infected.
Everything You Need to Know About Fire Ants
There are about 280 different species of these ants in the world. As a rule, when people mention fire ants, they mean non native red ants imported to the USA by an accident from Argentina yet in the middle of 20th century. First they’ve settled themselves in the south but now are actively moving northwards. Apart from these, there are several species of fire ants that are native in the USA. Fortunately, these ones are not so dangerous as imported species and do not require so much effort to get rid of them.
This type of ants nests as a rule nest to moist areas (ponds edges, river banks etc) and in the soil. In most cases you won’t see the nest easily as its owners will hide it under some objects, for example bricks, rocks or timber. If they can’t find any shelter for their home, fire ants will build special mounds in the shape of the dome. They are easily recognized and better to be avoided.
Fire ants colonies are founded by queens. In case of emergency an entire colony with thousands of fire ants can be created even if one single queen survives.
As it can be easily guessed, the insects got their name from their painful stings causing a burning sensation on the skin. So you better know your enemies in face and avoid them timely. The creatures have quite recognizable appearance: their body color ranges from black to red-brown, as to the size, these ants are about half an inch and more in length.
How to Kill Fire Ants at Home
Unfortunately the insects have become a rapidly growing problem, especially in the southern areas of the USA. If you’ve noticed that your dwelling or yard got invaded by these aggressive pests, do not take your time and control the process as quickly as possible to avoid dangerous consequences for you and your pets.
The insects are real survivors, which makes it pretty difficult to kill them: they are ready to withstand anything and their colonies are very hard to eliminate.
To fight with these little killers you can opt for some commercial treatment, but they can be pretty costly sometimes. If this is an issue for you, you might want to kill aggressive guests naturally. For this you can always choose some of home remedies that will be effective in getting rid of fire ants intrusion to your house.
There are several natural remedies that have proved to be effective with the insects.
- First method is to use some cleaner with bleach. You can spray it right on the insects once you have spotted them in your house or nearby. Wait for several minutes until all the ants are killed, and then mop the floor.
- The second method is even easier and includes killing fire ants with hot water. You just pour the boiling water on the insects or in the hole of their nest and wait until they are scalded. Repeat in case of necessity. Keep in mind, if the queen survives, she can rebuild the colony at some other place of your house or yard.
- The third method includes using worm castings that can be bought online or in a special garden shop. Just sprinkle it around your plants and pour some right into the hole of the ants’ hill. Reapply regularly.
- Special remedies
You can also try pest control sprays, dust, granules and gels for killing ants. Modern industry is constantly developing and nowadays you can even find special ultrasonic plug-in repellers for indoor use. They will help you eliminate all types of insects in your house, not only ants.
Other tips and techniques how to get rid of ants see here. If all your efforts to get rid of fire ants turned to be in vain, you can always ask professional pest Control Company to help you kill the annoying insects.
It’s pretty clear that the best way to avoid dangerous fire ants’ bites and their unpleasant results is to try to keep away from these aggressive insects. If you see something that looks like ants’ nest in the park or in the forest, better watch out and resist any temptations to disturb it in any way. When you play or work outside, especially in countryside area, wear socks and shoes. Always tuck your pants down into boots and socks. A study carried out by one of the Universities has proved that long socks are more effective for fire ants protection than special repellents.
If you notice you’ve been attacked by the insects, hastily move away from their nest and try to brush the ants away from your body with some cloth, so that you prevent them biting your hands.
Generally speaking, to avoid meeting fire ants, keep away from their mounds and do not attempt to disturb the insects in any way. Before picking up something from the ground, study the area and the object itself for fire ants presence. Do not risk your health and keep safe. Remember, it’s always better to prevent than to cure.
Wow, I never knew that fire ant bites can even be poisonous to some people. This sounds a lot worse than I expected, considering that we’ve been spotting some fire ant colonies near our house. I’m afraid that if we don’t do something soon, they might invade our property and start causing us some trouble. To prevent my kids from experiencing any nasty bites, I’ll look for a pest control service that can handle fire ants right away.