What Do Fire Ant Bites Look Like?

What Do Fire Ant Bites Look Like?



Fire Ant Bites

Fire ant bites resemble pimples on the skin. Fire ants will bite and release formic acid into the skin which causes the reaction. The size of the bite can be from approximately 1 millimeter to 5 millimeters.

What does a fire ant bite feel like?

Fire ants are usually present in a nest with many other fire ants. If the nest is stepped on, the ant will attach to skin and then sting with its stinger on its back. They can sting multiple times if not removed from the skin.

  1. The bite will feel like a burn or sting
  2. Itchy bumps will develop within one hour of the attack
  3. Blisters will develop within hours
  4. Within a day or longer, the blisters will fill up with fluid that is white or yellow like in color. Do not pop the blister. This could lead to an infection.

Is there treatment?

  • Immediately remove the ants off of the skin.
  • The skin can be washed with soap and cold water.
  • For the itchiness the bite may cause, an oral antihistamine such as Benadryl can help.
  • Topical hydrocortisone can also help the blisters as well as the itchiness.
  • Ice packs can be applied to help swelling and pain.
  • If a serious reaction occurs, medical attention should be sought after.
    • Medical treatment could include:
      • Oral corticosteroids
      • Prescription strength creams
      • Epi pen
      • For the most severe cases, IV antihistamines, oxygen, or CPR may be necessary.

red ant bite skin human background

Where are fire ants located?

Fire ants can be found in the United States. They were mistakenly imported to the United States from South America. They are present in nine states including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma.

Summary:

  • Fire Ant Bite Appearance: Resemble pimples, ranging from 1 to 5 millimeters, caused by formic acid released during a bite.
  • Sensation of Fire Ant Bite:
  • Burn or sting sensation
  • Itchy bumps within an hour
  • Blisters forming within hours, filling with white or yellow fluid
  • Treatment:
  • Remove ants immediately.
  • Wash with soap and cold water.
  • Use oral antihistamines (e.g., Benadryl) for itchiness.
  • Apply topical hydrocortisone for blisters and itch.
  • Ice packs can help with swelling and pain.
  • Seek medical attention for serious reactions, potentially requiring oral corticosteroids, prescription creams, or even an EpiPen.
  • Fire Ant Locations: Found in the United States, particularly in nine states: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. Originally imported from South America.

This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.

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