Excerpts from Steve Tvedten's book "The Best Control
(Used here with permission.)
About 5 million Americans are stung every year!
Ant Stings - At least 5 million Americans are stung every year! The CPCO
ADVANTAGE - January 1999 noted: A survey conducted in just South Carolina
revealed that in the single year 1990, physicians reported treating 5000 cases
of imported fire ant stings on humans. This represented a 14-fold morbidity. In
all, there were 27 hospitalizations, one death and 170 cases requiring imported
fire ant desensitization by an allergy specialist. An updated imported fire ant
sting survey is about to get underway. - Agromedicine
Program Update; September 16, 1998
fire ants are small (less than a quarter of an inch long), reddish-brown to
black and live in mounds with long, radiating underground tunnels. Children can
mistake the fire ant mounds for sand piles and be attacked. Older people may
also be attacked.
The fire ant’s attack is a two-part process consisting of a bite and a sting. When one ant stings, they all sting and inject a venom that causes the release of histamine, a chemical in our bodies that can produce pain, itching, swelling and redness of the skin. Within seconds after the stings, discomfort occurs at each site and a small red welt appears. Each welt can enlarge rapidly, depending on the amount of venom that was injected and the victim’s sensitivity to the venom. The reaction persists for up to an hour, and then a small, clear blister will form. Over the next half day or so, the fluid in the blister may turn cloudy, and the area will begin to itch. Most people experience only a small amount of redness around the sting site. A small percentage of people are sensitive to the venom and experience more extensive redness and swelling. A few victims have extensive allergic reactions such as breathing difficulties or widespread swelling of body parts or worse.
fire ant’s venom is an oily alkaloid mixed with a little protein, and your one
chance to lessen the effect of the bite is to quickly break down the protein.
Try dabbing the bite with diluted bleach or Kleen ‘Em Away Naturally® or Safe
Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaners, or covering it with a paste of meat tenderizer
and water. This method is not effective if more than 15 minutes have passed.
Another option is to treat stings with an insect bite remedy containing
benzocaine or other ingredients that deaden pain and protect against infection.
infested areas, fire ant stings occur more frequently than bee, wasp, hornet,
and yellowjacket stings. Stepping on a fire ant mound is almost unavoidable,
especially when walking in heavily infested areas. Furthermore, many mounds are
not easily seen, with many lateral tunnels extending several feet away from the
mound just beneath the soil surface. Ants defend these tunnels as part of their
mound. More than 25,000 people each year seek medical attention for painful fire
ant bites. The sting itself is usually not life-threatening, but secondary
infections can result. To prevent infections do not scratch pustules and treat
the sting with an insect bite remedy. Persons who are hypersensitive to the fire
ant venom may experience symptoms such as nausea and dizziness or even shock or
exhibiting such reactions to fire ant stings should see a physician immediately.
About 1 dozen Americans die of their wounds each year!
person who stops to stand on a mound or one of its tunnels, or who leans against
a fence post included in the defended area, can have hundreds of ants rush out
to attack. Typically, the ants can be swarming on a person for 10 or more
seconds before they grab the skin with their mandibles, double over their
abdomens, and inject their stingers. That
is why some people die! This does not happen in their native land where the fire
ants fear phorid fly species who only live to torture and kill fire ants. Phorid
flies are being currently evaluated in Gainesville, Florida.
a single fire ant sting normally hurts less than a bee or wasp sting, the effect
of multiple stings is impressive. Multiple stings are common, not only because
hundreds of ants may have attacked, but because individual ants can administer
several stings. Each sting usually results in the formation of a white pustule
within 6 to 24 hours. The majority of stings are uncomplicated, but secondary
infections may occur if the pustule is broken, and scars may last for several
months. Severe infections requiring skin grafting or amputation have been known
to occur from fire ant stings. DMSO has been used to stop pustules and itching.
people experience a generalized allergic reaction to a fire ant sting. The reaction can include sweating, slurred speech, chest pain,
shortness of breath, hives, swelling, nausea, vomiting, and/or shock. People
exhibiting these symptoms after being stung by fire ants should get medical
attention immediately. Death can occur in hypersensitive or older or very young
people. Individuals who are allergic to fire ant toxins may require
desensitization therapy. The March 2002 issue of Pest Control Magazine noted
that in 1998 an estimated 660,000 people were stung in South Carolina alone and
approximately 33,000 sought medical treatment costing an estimated $2.4 million.
Aid: Try applying a mix of 4 oz. per quart of Kleen ‘Em Away Naturally® or 1
oz. of Safe Solutions, Inc. enzyme cleaners per quart of water or a 1 to 1 mix
of bleach and water to the stung area. Try to avoid stings by lightly dusting
your shoes, socks, feet and legs with talcum powder.
of Fire Ants