IPM Pest Control Blog

What You Don’t Know About Fire Ants CAN Hurt You (And Will Be Very Itchy!)

pest control serviceHere is the terrifying truth: scientists estimate that there are at least 1.5 million ants for every human being on earth.

Okay, now close your eyes, shake off that icky sensation that a million and a half tiny bugs are crawling up and down your back, and keep reading to the end. You’ll be glad you did.

Fire ants currently infest 14 states in the southern portion of the U.S., and while 20% of homeowners say that termite infestation is their main pest concern, those living in Florida may want to take a moment to consider the seriousness of ant infestations.

Florida has experienced major fire ant problems since the 1930s when the insect, native to South America, was accidentally introduced to the U.S. by a cargo ship that made a stop in Mobile, Alabama. Florida residents, as well as other Americans living in the southern-most states, understand that fire ant infestations can be very difficult to contain and exterminate.

Identifying Fire Ants
Fire ants have a three-sectioned body, three sets of legs, and a set of antennae. They are generally between two and six millimeters long and range in color from black to red. They inject their prey with formic acid, which causes a painful toxic reaction.

How to Treat Fire Ant Bites
Fire ant bites can be treated at home. The first step is to wash the area as soon as possible in order to remove any remaining venom. Next, apply ice to the wound for 30 to 60 minutes to reduce swelling. Here’s the hard part: don’t scratch it! The area around the bite will be itchy, but scratching it will only make it worse. If it becomes unbearable, try applying Calamine lotion or pick up an over-the-counter antihistamine.

Containing Fire Ant Infestations
If you notice fire ants in your yard, try pouring boiling water on the mound. This may burn up the ants and provide temporary relief, but it is likely that some will survive and will return with a vengeance. Your best bet is to hire professional pest control services. They are experts in general household pest control methods and may have access to insecticides that will prevent further issues.

If you have any questions or comments about fire ants or pest control services, feel free to post in the comments section below.

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