Fire ants come in different species, native and imported. Although both types of fire ant can present issues, it’s the imported variety that is the most problematic as it’s more aggressive. This means that it presents more danger to those who encounter it.
Fire ants normally stay outside, but they have been known to invade premises on occasion. If this happens in your home, you should seek assistance as soon as possible. You may also want to get help if these ants show up in your yard as they can leave nasty stings.
The sting of a fire ant
Fire ant stings are toxic, but they are not usually deadly. However, people who suffer an allergic reaction to the stings can die, if they do not get assistance straight away. Fire ants also tend to move quickly in groups, so stings are normally multiple. They cause a series of blisters which can be itchy and painful. It’s important not to break the skin on these blisters as doing so can result in infection which lengthens the amount of time that the stings are a problem for, and could result in you having to seek medical assistance.
If you are ever stung by fire ants, you should:
- Seek immediate assistance if you have an allergy to insect bites or stings.
- Use a cold compress to relieve the pain and itching.
- Carefully bathe the area with soap and warm water, without breaking the skin.
Environmental impact of the fire ant
It’s not just the fire ants sting that is harmful; these insects can also cause serious damage to the environment around them. They are predatory creatures which can feed on other insects, spiders, birds, small mammals and the young of larger mammals. This means that whole habitats of creatures can be adversely affected by the presence of fire ants. It also means that native plant species can be killed off, if the creatures that pollinate them are decimated by fire ants.
Fire ant activity can also cause serious damage to areas such as lawns and sports fields. This can have a significant financial impact for both home owners and sporting clubs. In fact, this type of impact is felt across all areas of land, including farms and public parks.
Most of this damage is caused by imported fire ants. The native species can also cause issues but these ants are easier to control; often by their natural enemies. The aggressive nature of imported fire ants means they do not have these natural enemies, to keep them under control. If you come across this type of ant on your property, you need to deal with the problem straight away. Failure to do so could result in people living in your home being severly stung. It could also result in damage to the ground around your home, as well as danger to beneficial creatures such as spiders,