Have you noticed any raised white pustules (red, tender bumps with white pus at their tips) that itch and last for days after being outside? You or your pets may have had an unfortunate intimate encounter with fire ants. Yes, fire ants do sting and it hurts. Unfortunately, a stinging encounter with fire ants usually involves more than one ant, and each year many people and their pets have the experience of being stung by dozens, or even hundreds, of fire ants. When fire ants bite they inject their venom, which can be quite potent. In addition, they have the ability to sting repeatedly and still survive to return to her normal duties.
A small fraction of those bitten may have an allergic reaction to the fire ant venom. In the most extreme cases, even a few stings can result in the life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis (Anaphylaxis is a severe, whole-body allergic reaction to a chemical that has become an allergen). Each year humans die as a result from fire ant stings.
Check out these fun facts regarding Fire Ants
- Fire ants are one of nature’s most fearsome cleaning forces.
- A red imported fire ant army can take down prey much larger than itself, and strip a carcass clean overnight.
- Dozens, even hundreds, of fire ants sting in unison—and this is what humans have come to fear.
- The ant bites down, and then stings, injecting a toxic venom that burns like, well, fire.
- Red imported fire ants were introduced to the United States in the 1930s, probably stowing away in ballast on a Brazilian cargo ship.
- Now they’ve spread across several southern states.
- The ants build large nests in the soil, and once established, are known to devastate the ecosystem around them.
- They’ve been known to radically reduce the number of animal species in a given area… sometimes eliminating them entirely—with the power of the swarm.
- Fire ants can aggressively take over an area and spread… like wildfire.