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

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Red imported fire ants aren’t an alleged to it is in in the joined States, however these dangerous pests have actually made themselves at home here. If you room stung by fire ants, you will do it probably understand it. Castle swarm onto her skin and also their stings feel choose fire.

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Fire ants range in color from red-brown come black, and grow approximately 1/4 customs in length. They construct nests or mounds about 1 foot high, usually in grassy locations like lawns and also pastures. Unlike many anthills, fire ant colonies don’t have just one entrance. The ants crawl all over the hill.

Fire ants are really aggressive as soon as their swarm is disturbed. If provoked, they swarm ~ above the regarded intruder, anchor themselves by biting to organize the skin stable, and then sting repeatedly, injecting a toxin alkaloid venom dubbed solenopsin. We refer to this activity as “stinging.”

Fire ant colonies are like small cities, sometimes containing as numerous as 200,000 ants, according to Texas A&M University. Inside these busy colonies, woman workers preserve the nest’s structure and feed your young. Male drones breed with the queen or queens. Once young kings mature in neighborhoods with more than one queen, they paris off with males to create new nests.


Red imported fire ants pertained to the United claims by accident in the 1930s. Lock have grew in the southern states and also moved north due to the fact that they had actually no local predators. There room fire ants aboriginal to the united States, however they room not as dangerous or hard to remove as red fire imported ants.

Fire ants can withstand just around any challenge. Researcher at the college of Arkansas found that it would take two weeks that temperatures listed below 10°F (-12°C) come kill an entire colony. When fire ants kill and eat various other insects like continuous ants, castle have likewise been well-known to live on crops and also animals. Fire ants have the right to even kind nests on water and float them to dried locations.


If fire ants sting you, opportunities are you’ll know. They strike in swarms, racing up vertical surfaces (such together your leg) as soon as their swarms are disturbed. Each fire ant have the right to sting numerous times.

To identify fire ant stings, look at for groups of puffy red clues that build a blister on the top. Stings hurt, itch, and also last up to a week. Some human being have dangerous allergic reactions to stings and will have to seek immediate medical help.


Treat soft sting reaction by washing the influenced area v soap and water and covering it through a bandage. Using ice can reduce the pain. Subject treatments encompass over-the-counter steroid creams and antihistamines to reduce pain and itch.

Texas A&M college recommends a house remedy equipment of fifty percent bleach, half water. Other home remedies encompass diluted ammonium solution, aloe vera, or astringents choose witch hazel. This remedies may offer some relief, but there is no hard evidence to support their use.

The sting and also bite marks need to go far in about a week. Scratching can cause the affected area to end up being infected, which have the right to make sting and bite marks critical longer.


Anyone can develop an allergy come fire ant stings, although civilization who’ve to be stung prior to are at greater risk. An allergy reaction have the right to be fatal. Indications of a dangerous allergy reaction include:

sudden an obstacle breathing

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

If you have actually a major allergy, over there are connected long-term treatments, including entirety body extract immunotherapy. During this process, one allergist-immunologist injects ant extracts and venom into your skin. End time, her sensitivity come the extracts and also venom have to decrease.


The best method to protect against fire ant stings is to stay away indigenous fire ants. If you check out a nest, resist the temptation to disturb it. Stay shoes and socks once working and playing outside. If you are struck by fire ants, relocate away from the nest and also brush the ants off through a towel or when wearing gloves therefore they can not sting your hands.

Fire ant colonies are difficult to destroy. There space some gift baits the when used regularly may get rid of fire ants. The most typical is a pesticide called piretherine. The best time to usage bait versus fire ants is during the fall, as soon as ants are less active. Skilled pest manage companies act fire ants wherein they are common. Dousing a fire ant hill through boiling water can also be effective for death the ants, however it is likewise likely to cause the survivors to attack.

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Fire ants room a farming problem in the southerly United States. Prevent them whenever friend can, and take straightforward protective actions when walking outside, such as wearing shoes and socks. Be on the lookout for a serious allergic reaction in anyone who has actually been stung, and also get emergency medical assist if needed.


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