Imported fire ants are an invasive ant species that first reached the US in the 1930s, and they were brought by cargo ships through Mobile, Alabama. After a century, these ants have managed to spread out to at least 15 other states. So what makes these ants so dangerous? Well, unlike other species, fire ants can actually be deadly.
Fire ants can be highly aggressive, attacking in swarms whenever they perceive a threat. This threat can be you, your child or your pet, if you get too close to one of their mounds. Not only that, but a single ant will sting multiple times, so when you are swarmed, you can be stung hundreds or even thousands of times in a very short period.
The sting itself results in extreme pain for a few minutes, followed by a severe itching and a burning sensation that can last for days. Welts will appear at the site of the sting which eventually become blisters filled with pus. If you scratch the area too hard, you can end up with secondary infections as well. However, it is possible to have more severe reactions, depending on the number of stings and other risk factors such as being prone to allergies or age.
Signs of a more serious reaction include:
- Swelling in the area of the sting
- Vomiting, nausea and/or diarrhea
- Difficulty breathing and tightness in the chest
- Throat or tongue swelling
- Loss of consciousness
If you or someone who has been stung has any of these reactions, seek medical attention immediately.
Mild reactions can be treated with some home remedies that will reduce the pain. These remedies include:
- Cold compress or ice to reduce the swelling
- Hydrocortisone cream to relieve itching
- Antihistamines to reduce allergic reactions
- An over-the-counter antibiotic cream or ointment to reduce the chance of infection in the case of excessive scratching.
Dealing with a fire ant infestation
If you have a fire ant infestation on your property, it’s a good idea to get rid of it right away. Methods that require you to be close to their mound should be avoided, and instead you should rely on baits. However, the best way to get rid of fire ants safely and effectively is to get in touch with a pest control specialist. Contact us today if you need to remove a fire ant infestation from your property.