Overview: Ant bites differ from most other biting insect bites in that they can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis and are frequently misdiagnosed. Case Report: We present the case of a 43-year-old man who was bitten by several red fire ants and treated with calamine lotion and diphenhydramine. An hour later, he developed shortness of breath, a drop in blood pressure, nasal congestion, chest tightness, palpitations and generalized swelling of the face and neck. These symptoms are consistent with a life-threatening allergic response more likely to result from stinging insect venom than from ant bite venom. If you have been bitten by Red Ants, you probably don’t know it yet. You see, most bites result in a small, red swelling. A few hours later, you may experience some itching or even an odd feeling around the bite. The next day or so the bite may fill with puss and swell larger, again remember though that this can happen to anyone whether they’ve been bitten before or not.
Allergic Reaction To Red Ants
The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is a species of ant native to South America.
The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is a species of ant native to South America. Fire ants are not native to the United States and have become a major pest in the southern U.S., where they were likely introduced at the port of Mobile, Alabama before 1930. Although there are more than 200 species of ants found in the U.S., most fire ant stings are incurred from four species: the red imported fire ant (RIFA), black imported fire ant (BIFA), southern fire ant (SFA) and tropical or brown fire ants (TFA).
A red imported fire ant bite produces a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by fire and gives rise to its colloquial name.
Each red imported fire ant bite produces a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by fire and gives rise to its colloquial name. The venom of fire ants is a potent allergen containing solenopsin, an alkaloid that acts as an ion channel blocker. The venom of fire ants is also toxic and can cause severe allergic reactions or even anaphylactic shock in rare cases, especially in those who are sensitive to the venom.
Red imported fire ants are seen as pests because their nests are built in cultivated fields, disturbing agriculture and causing economic losses, mainly in the southeastern United States.
- Red imported fire ants are seen as pests because their nests are built in cultivated fields, disturbing agriculture and causing economic losses, mainly in the southeastern United States.
- They are also an invasive species, with colonies present in Australia, New Zealand, China and Taiwan.
- The ants can be dangerous to humans and pets. They can cause mild skin irritation or trigger allergic reactions.
- In the United States red imported fire ants are considered a threat to agriculture because of their crop raiding behavior. In other parts of the world they have been found to prey upon native invertebrates such as snails and lizards. It has been suggested that this may allow them to compete with native ant species for food sources but there is no evidence that this has happened yet anywhere outside North America where they have become established at all long enough for these interactions to take place. A number of methods have been used to control red imported fire ants but none of them is completely effective so research into new methods continues today with some success being reported each year on different techniques using natural predators like parasitic flies or nematodes which attack only fire ant colonies when released into infested areas; however commercial products containing chemical insecticides remain widely available for consumer use against these pests despite concerns about risks associated from those exposures particularly when applied according to label directions rather than following more stringent protective guidelines issued by EPA which prohibit indoor use near children under age 12 years old due to potential toxicity levels being too high inside homes where kids play (indoor spray applications should never occur).
The typical red imported fire ant colony produces large mounds in open areas, and feeds mostly on young plants, seeds, and sometimes crickets.
The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), also known as the fire ant or RIFA, is a species of ant native to South America. A member of the genus Solenopsis in the subfamily Myrmicinae, it was described by Swiss entomologist Felix Santschi as a variant in 1916. Its current name invicta was given to the ant in 1972 as a separate species. However, the variant and species were the same ant, and the name was recognized as a junior synonym of its original name.
The red imported fire ant is native to South America but has been accidentally introduced to many areas around that continent and is considered an invasive species that has been established in Australia, New Zealand, several Asian countries and some Pacific islands. The red imported fire ant is seen as a pest because their nests are built in cultivated fields, they feed on crops such as maize and seedling cotton plants while they are growing, they are very aggressive (at least 2 million people are stung per year), and have displaced many other ants found in North America.
Like many other ants, red imported fire ants often attack small animals and can kill them with their stings.
Like many other ants, red imported fire ants often attack small animals and can kill them with their stings. Although the ant’s venom is meant to paralyze its prey, it can also cause a serious allergic reaction in humans. A person who is allergic to the venom may go into anaphylactic shock after being stung and die without immediate treatment.
In rare cases, people who are not allergic to the venom can also have severe reactions that require medical attention. Some of these people have been stung numerous times before having an adverse reaction, while others react severely after only one sting. People who are infected by bacteria carried on the ants’ bodies are more likely than other victims to have severe reactions to fire ant stings.
Their bites are dangerous because they inject a toxic alkaloid venom called solenopsin; individual ants can sting multiple times.
Solenopsin is a chemical that red fire ants inject into their victims. It is classified as an alkaloid, which means it is a nitrogen-based substance produced by plants, fungi and animals. Solenopsin is so powerful that the International Agency for Research on Cancer has declared it to be a potential human carcinogen. The amount of solenopsin injected when an ant stings varies greatly; one ant can sting multiple times, injecting more solenopsin with each fresh sting.
Workers of Solenopsis invicta are polymorphic with sizes ranging from 2 to 6 millimetres (0.079 to 0.236 in) for minor workers and 4–6 mm (0.16–0.24 in) for major workers.
In the United States, workers of Solenopsis invicta are polymorphic with sizes ranging from 2 to 6 millimetres (0.079 to 0.236 in) for minor workers and 4–6 mm (0.16–0.24 in) for major workers. In winged females, the body length is greater than 6 millimetres (0.24 in). Workers of the related Solenopsis richteri are slightly smaller, with a maximum size of 5 millimetres (0.20 in). The abdomens of fire ants are distinctly heart-shaped when viewed from above.
The coloration ranges from red to brownish-black depending on age and caste. The alitrunk is often lighter than the head and gaster, which have a dark reddish-brown appearance, especially among mature workers. Queens are usually dark brown or black, while males tend to be golden yellow or black.
Solenopsis invicta can reproduce both sexually and asexually through the formation of fission colonies by budding; this allows the creation of new colonies without the need for nuptial flight (the dispersal of reproductive adults).
They can reproduce by budding, a form of asexual reproduction. They can also reproduce sexually. Since they can reproduce asexually and sexually, they may engage in one or the other based on need and resources. Nuptial flight is not needed for sexual reproduction to occur, as is the case with many insects that are able to bud fission colonies.
- 12 bait stations included
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- Place baits near ant trails or where ants are numerous
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