What do you do if you get bit by an ant?
Although most ants aren’t as destructive or dangerous as other types of pests, many homeowners are concerned with their potential to bite and sting if any household members (including pets) come into contact with them. Today, we’re going to discuss some of the most common ant species you’re likely to find on your Florida property, how to treat ant bites, and ways to prevent an infestation.
Common Ant Species in Florida
Like most parts of the country, Florida has its fair share of ant species. Ants can typically all be disposed of or avoided using the same techniques, but it doesn’t hurt to recognize the most common ant species that you’re likely to see:
- Carpenter Ants — Large, nocturnal ants that often build nests in dead, damp wood.
- Fire Ants — These tiny, aggressive ants are known for their tendency to bite and sting.
- White-Footed Ants — Identified by pale yellow brownish “feet” but with darker legs.
- Pharaoh Ants — These tiny ants are known for surviving most household pest treatments.
- Ghost Ants — Their translucent legs and gaster (rear of abdomen) are a dead giveaway.
- Crazy Ants — They look like other tiny ants but move in erratic patterns rather than a line.
Common Symptoms of Ant Bites
Most ants bite, but some will sting and inject ant venom into the sting site. Fire ants bite and sting, so they can have different effects. Regardless of what type of ant you’re dealing with, though, the most common symptoms of an ant bite or sting are red spots, pain, and itching. The bite of a tiny ant is typically annoying at best, while a large ant that stings can cause a throbbing pain for half an hour or longer.
Allergic Reactions to Ant Bites
Severe reactions to ant bites are very uncommon, but it’s important to recognize when you need to seek medical treatment. In some situations, even a single bite could be life-threatening to certain individuals.
There are two types of allergic reactions that may be caused by an ant bite:
- Local Reactions— These types of allergic reactions are typically mild or only fairly severe. Redness and swelling may last around 10 days, but there’s no danger involved. This can be treated like any other common ant bite.
- Systemic Reactions — With a severe reaction, your gastrointestinal system may be disrupted and cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. Other severe reactions include dizziness, chest pain, hypotension, breathing problems, and more. All of these require immediate medical attention.
How to Treat Common Ant Bites
With a severe reaction to an ant bite, you’ll want to seek medical assistance right away. If you’re feeling only slightly bad after being bitten or stung, you can always call your doctor’s office or a nurse helpline for medical advice. Usually, however, you can try one of these home remedies:
- Cold Compress — Apply either a cold compress or ice pack at 20-minute increments to reduce swelling.
- Hydrocortisone — If itching is a problem, hydrocortisone cream will help alleviate that.
- Antihistamine — Taking an antihistamine can alleviate a local allergic reaction.
- Antibiotic Cream — Applying this cream will prevent an infection if you’ve been scratching where you were bitten.
- Oatmeal Bath — For severe itching, soak in a tub with an oatmeal bath treatment.
How to Prevent Ant Infestations
Even though ants aren’t the most destructive pests, they can still contaminate your food and bite anyone in your household, including pets.
Here are a few simple ant prevention techniques:
- Watch for Them — Ants don’t typically leave behind many telltale signs, so you’re more likely to have an actual sighting. You may spot a few scouts, but it doesn’t take long for you to find a long line of ants leading outside.
- Seal Entryways — Most ants are very small, which means they can squeeze through minuscule cracks and gaps in your home. Look for any problem areas and seal them with weather-stripping, spray foam, or caulk, depending on their size.
- Clean Up Food — The only reason that ants enter your home is to find a food source. Keep your kitchen clean, store leftovers in plastic containers, and take out the trash regularly.
- Put Out Traps — Ant traps contain poisoned food that attracts ants. Then, the workers take the poison back to the ant colony, eventually killing the queen and the rest of the workers.
- Call Pest Control Experts — If you’re experiencing a full-blown infestation or lines of ants keep reappearing, call an expert right away. A professional pest control company will get rid of all the ants on your property and the results will be guaranteed.
Contact ProHealth Pest Control to Learn How to Treat Ant Bites
It’s usually easy to treat ant bites and avoid future infestations. If you need assistance with ant control or other pest problems, the professionals at ProHealth Pest Control can help. For any questions about our pest control services or to schedule an appointment, call (727) 888-6253 today to schedule a free consultation for pest control services.