Fire ants are a persistent problem in the Southeastern part of the United States, particularly Florida. Unlike most species of ants, fire ants are aggressive and will attack humans and animals, which is why people are quick to call for pest control. Fire ants originated in South America and are believed to have been brought to America in the 1930s via shipping crates.
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Although fire ant nests are known for the above-ground mound that is commonly seen in open fields, fire ant nests can also be found under yard debris, stones, logs, and toys. Clearing yards of debris piles and other hiding places may help to prevent some of these hidden nests. Care should be taken when moving any objects or materials that have been left outside in areas where fire ants may survive. Wearing gloves and protective clothing when doing yard maintenance in these areas is recommended.
Fire Ant Bite Symptoms
Fire ants inject venom into victims when they bite or sting. The site of the sting forms a bump, often with a protruding white pustule. This bump will usually flatten and heal within a few days without treatment. If the itching or burn is unbearable, topical anti-itch creams or aloe may help with the pain.
Fire Ant Bite Complications
In some people and animals, the venom injected by fire ants causes an allergic reaction. Reactions may vary in severity, from excessive swelling of the site to anaphylaxis. Some allergic reactions can be life-threatening, requiring emergency medical treatment. Infection can also cause life-threatening complications, and can occur if the ant was exposed to toxins or if the site is scratched or not properly sanitized.
Treating Fire Ant Bites
After being bitten, applying a cold compress or ice can help to reduce swelling and pain. If swelling begins in other areas of the body or any breathing complications begin shortly following an ant bite, medical treatment should be sought immediately. If localized swelling occurs despite application of a cold compress, applying a topical antihistamine cream or ointment may provide relief from symptoms. The bite area should be kept clean, dry, and covered to prevent infection.
Using Fire Ant Bait
Placing fire ant bait in the yard is a sure-fire way to destroy any existing fire ant nests and prevent future infestations. Fire ants forage for food at certain times of day, so it is helpful to place a small pile of fire ant bait in the yard and check to see if the bait has been disturbed after roughly 30 minutes. It is has, fire ant bait that is distributed at this time of day will be effective in killing existing colonies. If not, try placing the ant bait at different times of day to determine when the fire ants are foraging, then distribute bait regularly at that time. If desired, professional exterminators can help with fire ant control. Find a fire ant infestation specialist in Miami now.