What to do when an ant bites you
ou’ve had the perfect day, picnicking with friends or chilling on the lawn, watching the weekend go by with a cold one in your hand. All of a sudden, you feel a sharp, angry stinging sensation and see an ant hot-footing it away from your hand. You’re not quite sure which species got you good, but the next few minutes to hours will determine the identity of the offending ant in addition to tracking down the ant nest – you may even be sitting on or near it – and taking a closer look at a safe distance. Some ant bites are painful initially with no long-term consequences, while others can prompt anaphylaxis, breathing difficulties, swollen arms and legs, tachycardia and dizziness. They may be small, but their bite can pack enough punch to reduce an adult human into a mess of symptoms. Learn more about what happens when an ant bites you below.
Ant Bite Symptoms
Fire ant bites are miserable. You’ll never just have one either – when disturbed or offended, they swarm towards their target, mouthparts at the ready. Fire ant venom contains over 46 proteins that have the capability to impact the human nervous system, from the initial pinching sting to short lived pain followed by itching or burning that can last days. Fire ant bites resemble bumpy red pimples. Any allergic reaction will occur within minutes of being bitten – breathing issues, dizziness, confusion, swelling and loss of consciousness are all symptoms that should have you dialling 000.
Bull ant bites aren’t bites at all. A sharp prong near its abdomen pumps venom made up of proteins, histamines and other stuff into its target – because it’s quite big in comparison to other ants you’ll encounter, the sting hurts significantly more. While the initial bite is extremely painful and redness, irritation and swelling are common, be on the lookout for signs of allergic reaction – bull ant bites have killed people in the past due to the potency of their venom.
Jack Jumper Ants
The jack jumper ant is a distant cousin of the bull ant. While the initial bite symptoms are the same with some added swelling, the likelihood of anaphylaxis is higher. Jack jumper ants are not rare, but their nests are extremely difficult to locate. If you suspect your backyard is home to jack jumpers, please pick up the phone or get in touch via our website today – protecting your family is our number one priority.
Green ant bites cause minor redness around the bite, with sharp pain immediately radiating from the site followed by itching. A mild allergic reaction may lead to a rash or significant swelling around the area. Hives and swelling away from the bite signal that you’re having a generalised allergic reaction, while tongue and throat swelling, in addition to breathing difficulties. coughing. Wheezing and dizziness mean you need to seek help right away.
Carpenter ant bites are quite big, around the size of a pea, reflecting the size and power of their wood-chopping mandibles. Skin around the bite site becomes inflamed, resulting in redness and itching. The bite itself is extremely painful, usually breaking the skin. If you experience constant pain, irritation or itching around the affected area, you may be experiencing an allergic reaction. When in doubt, go to the hospital. Carpenter ants rarely attack people.
Ant Bite Treatment
If you or someone you love is having an ant bite reaction, initial treatment steps include:
- Assessing Yourself – Are you feeling okay in general? Is your breathing steady? Do you feel dizzy? Has any pain and swelling stayed localised to the bite zone? Check in with yourself this way for 5, 10, 30, 60 and 90 minutes after the initial bite to ensure you aren’t having an allergic reaction.
- Wash the Bite Site – Use soap and clean water to give the bite a good wash.
- Apply a Cold Compress – A cold pack or a packet of peas from the freezer will help with any resulting pain and swelling.
- Take an Antihistamine – If you’re wondering just how do you stop ant bites from itching, a loratadine based antihistamine like Claritin will help take care of that maddening itch while further settling any swelling.
Remember: Any ant bite or sting can inspire an allergic response. If you or someone you know has been bitten by any of these species before, or those that aren’t listed, and experienced a serious reaction, seek emergency treatment straight away by dialling 000 or going to the nearest hospital.