Fire Ants are no laughing matter, they may be small but they can seriously injure you or your family if you are not careful. Here are 3 helpful tips to protect you and your family from the highly aggressive and violent Fire Ant.
In the US alone 83 people have died from the Red Fire Ant, not by the sting and bite itself but through secondary allergic reactions and infections. The 2 part attack from a Fire Ant is a bite, mainly to grip and a painful sting loaded with a chemical that causes the release of a chemical in the human body called ‘histamine’. This causes red welts to appear and cause itching, swelling , pain and sometimes a blister will form. The real threat is allergic reactions after the bite and when there are multiple bites coupled with allergic reactions, a trip to the hospital may be required.
1.Monthly sweeps of your property for any new or developed colonies.
Fire ants are aggressive expansionist species and spread quickly throughout areas. if your area has fire Ants it is best to conduct Monthly inspections of your property to ensure the fire ants do not gain a foothold in your backyard. Children are most at risk especially if they have not developed the motor skills to react quickly to get out of danger or be able to recognize fire ants.
2. Learning how to identify Fire Ants
Knowing just a basic understanding of what to look for when can be the most important factor in protecting yourself and your family
Fire ants do not have any unique features about the way they look, they almost look like regular gardens ants. But if you look closer their are ways to help identified them.
- Fire Ants are Coppery brown in color
- Range from 2mm -6mm in size – This is a key indicator as most ant species grow to the same size. Fire vary in size to one another.
Identifying Fire ants nests is a easier task.
- Fire ants usually create dome shaped mounds up to 40cm high but not unheard of to just be small areas of disturbed soils.
- Generally nest on flat land such as roadsides, unused land and lawns
- Fire Ants also nest to object such as pots, pieces of timber, next to buildings, near areas of permanent water, large rocks.
3. If stung, know how to treat the sting.
To most people, a fire ant sting will just be a painful inconvenience. To some people it can turn into a serious matter due to allergic reactions to the Fire ants venom.
Anaphylaxis is less common but can be very life threatening. People who get allergies to fire ant venom generally develop symptoms with a couple minutes after being bitten. You can tell an allergic reaction is happening when the bite forms blisters coupled with severe burning/itching.
If you are you experience the below symptoms, you may need to seek emergency help.
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of the tongue/face/throat
- loss of consciousness
- chest pain
- severe sweating
Circumstances can become dire if left untreated, the body can go into shock.
If the bite victim is not experiencing any symptoms of an allergic reaction the below 1st aid treatment can help reduce pain, swelling and infection.
- Take an oatmeal bath, this can reduce the itching
- Apply antibiotic ointment to the area of the sting, this will help reduce the risk of infection and itching
- Take a antihistamine to control minor allergic reaction symptoms
- Use a hydrocortisone cream to relieve itching.
- Gently use soap and water and leave any blister intact.