So before I get to the treatment for fire ant bites, I’d like to explain what they look like, how you can spot an infestation and any precautions you can take to avoid being bitten.
Information and Facts About Fire Ants
- Fire ants are a stinging ant that can usually be recognized by their reddish brown color.
- They are nasty little buggers. If you’re stung you’ll know it because it can be very painful. Some people say it feels like being burnt by fire. That’s why they are referred to as the fire ant.
- While the sting is very painful in most people, it can also be fatal. While it is a rare occurrence, it is something to be aware of and err on the side of caution. Generally this can happen to people who have an adverse reaction to a bite or to people who get bitten multiple times. (They may have upset a mount, for example.)
- Unlike other ants, fire ants will bite just to get a good grip on you and then they will sting, releasing their venom. This will cause a red bump or bumps, (depending on how many times you were bitten).These bumps can be very itchy and painful.
- They don’t hibernate. Although they prefer warm, sunny climates, they can also survive in colder weather.
- They like to hang out with their friends and a colony can contain 100,000 to 500,000 ants. (Scary!)
- If you find a mound or infestation in your yard. Keep an extra eye on your pets. This is because fire ants often attack small animals, which can be lethal.
- Try to wear long gardening gloves when poking around outside. If you happen to hit a nest or mound, they will swarm up your arms faster then you’ll be able to pull back.
- Wear pants if possible, when working in your yard or garden, around ponds or on farms, especially after a rainfall. If that’s not possible, dig deep and channel your inner old man and at least wear knee-high socks with your shorts and sandals.
- Be extra careful when you’re out on a family hike. Since fire ants can burrow in soil, keep a close eye on kids to make sure they’re not turning over rocks or logs.
- If you do get bitten, try not to scratch the bumps. I know that’s easier said than done, but scratching can lead to infection and scarring. That’s why it’s a good idea to use some type of anti-itch cream right away.
Treatments And Remedies For Fire Ant Bites
Epinephrine– Since fire ant bites can be just as deadly as wasps and bee stings you should get an EpiPen. ( An easy-to-use injectable epinephrine needle). This is very important especially if you have small children out playing in the yard. Since time is of the essence when someone has a severe reaction, it may save you or your child’s life.
Antihistamines – These can reduce the swelling and there are many to choose from. Some of your choices are Claritin, Benadryl, Zyrtec or Allegra.
Hydrocortisone Cream – This will reduce any swelling, itching, redness or irritation. Only use these on the affected area and wash your hands after use.
Hemorrhoid Cream – I know it might seem odd, but it really works. That’s because the first thing you want to do is stop the swelling and itch. Think about it. That’s what it’s made for. Hemorrhoid cream is good for so many things other than hemorrhoids. Even if you have to hide it in the sock drawer when friends come over, you should always have some on hand.
Ice Packs – Using ice packs or a cold wet cloth when you’re first bitten will reduce the swelling substantially.
Vinegar – Rubbing vinegar over the infected areas as soon as possible will take give you instant relief from the sting and itch. Just keep reapplying a wet compress with vinegar and water as needed.
Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil is a must have in any medicine cabinet. It treats almost any skin irritations. It’s excellent for speeding up healing from fire ant bites. Just put directly unto the bites. Continue using even if the bites turn to scabs.
Nothing can ruin a fun holiday faster than you or your children getting bitten by fire ants. So if you are going camping or are going to an unfamiliar place that may have fire ants, maybe just bring a care kit in the car. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Things like an ice pack for swelling, a cream for the itching, something for healing bites and a Epi-Pen if you’re worried about reactions.
I really hope that you never get bitten by these nasty little buggers, but if you do, I hope I gave you some good info to help you deal. If this article was at all helpful please share it with family and friends or leave a comment with what helped you ease the discomfort of the bites. We would be interested to hear your first hand experiences with fire ants. We have a fascination with insects here at Treatments For Ailments.
Have a great day. The TFA team.