If you have the notion that some ant species do not bite, you are wrong. An ant will not be complete unless it has mandibles. Mandibles are for biting. It is therefore very clear that all ants bite. What makes them different from each other is their degree of aggressiveness.
There are ants that are not afraid of stinging you even if you are a hundred times bigger. Therefore, it will do you good to know which ant species really bite and sting and which ant species will not sting even if they bite.
Is There A Difference Between Bite And Sting?
You bet, there is. It is important for you to understand the difference between an ant bite and an ant sting. Right off, biting is different from stinging. And here are the reasons why they are very different from each other.
When an ant bites, it uses its mandibles. They are part of the ant’s mouth structure. These mandibles are like claws that protrude from the ant’s mouth. Ants use their mandibles to pinch our skins. They inflict tiny and microscopic wounds that we can’t easily with our bare eyes.
There are ant species that bite and then spray some type of venom into the wound on the skin. The venom has Formic acid which irritates the skin and causes additional discomfort. However, this venom is not deadly as snake venom. Ant venom will only result in blisters and swelling.
Meanwhile, stinging only occurs when an ant uses its southernmost body part of its gasters. This part is simply the pointy and sharp part at the end of its abdomen. Ant stingers typically use the same venom as their mandibles.
But there are some ant species which will bite first and then sting afterwards. When that happens, discomfort, swelling and blisters will occur and will become worse.
You Need To Identify The Types Of Ants In Your House
If you don’t want to experience the consequences of being bitten and stung by ants at the same time, you need to identify which ant species are crawling around your house. Once you have identified their species, you will be able to know if you need to exterminate them now or act on it later.
The ants that bite and sting are differently constructed than ants that only bite. Their big difference is the stinger at the end of their gasters.
The bodies of ant have three parts, the head, the thorax and the abdomen or the gasters. Ants also have nodes which links their thorax to their gasters. One way to identify ants is to determine if they have one or two nodes. Another way is to check if there are stingers in their gasters.
These Are The Ants That Bite But Not Sting
The ant species that bites but do not sting includes the following:
Carpenter ants – this is the largest species of ants. When threatened, their worker class can really bite hard. Their bites are painful largely because of their bigger size. Most of their species are nocturnal in nature.
They love to nest in tree branches and hollow tree trunks. However, some of their species are also found nesting in building walls and ceilings, boxes and hollow doors.
Crazy ants – these ants got their name from their erratic or crazy movements. They have only one node and will bite only when threatened. Most of them are dark brown with long antennas and equally long legs.
They typically infest building structures, especially in more humid and warmer parts of the country. These ants do not have any particular preference for their nesting sites. They can establish colonies indoors and outdoors. Potted plants displayed indoors can be targeted by these ants as nesting sites.
Field Ants – this ant species can inflict a pinch-like bite that is very painful. But it will only bite when defending itself. If their nests are disturbed they will aggressively respond by biting. These ants like to nest outdoors but they love to enter buildings when they are hunting for water and food, especially during the late summer months.
These Are The Ants That Bite And Sting
The ant species that you need to avoid are those that bite and then sting. Here are the ant species that belong to this class.
Harvester ants – these ant species are very aggressive. When they sting, they do it several times. The sting of these ants will cause minor pain that will subside within a couple of hours. But the sting may grow red and may also swell.
Acrobat ants – these types of ants typically sting when they are hunting for food. When a home is previously invaded by other pests such as termites and carpenter ants, these ants will follow. They feed on proteins and sweets which are typically found in pantries and kitchens.
Fire Ants – this ant species inflicts a sting that feels like burning fire. They have a distinctive characteristic of not only biting the skin but also of stinging their victim several times. When you are stung by fire ants, there will be clusters of red spots that will swell.
The swelling will develop blisters on the topmost part. This may last for one week. There are some who experience a serious allergic reaction to stings from these ants who may even require medical attention at once.
What Can Happen If You Are Bitten And Stung By Ants?
Typically, if an ant has bitten and stung you, the effects will dissipate within a couple of hours or worse, a couple of days. However, if you have any pre-existing medical condition, more adverse and long-lasting effects may be triggered.
One of the worse things that can happen after an ant bite or sting is allergic reaction that is severe. This will result in swelling, the development of several welts all over the body and in severe cases, anaphylaxis which can be deadly.
What You Can Do
If you have been bitten and stung by ants, the first thing you need to do is to observe how your body will respond. But prepare some salves and antihistamines, just in case. If you don’t have ant bite remedies, you can use Aloe Vera or rubbing salt and rub the affected part with it.