Ants have the potential to bite or sting, and some may even do both. However, ant bites are fairly uncommon, and typically only occur if the ants feel threatened. Most types of ants are harmless and will not hurt you. For instance, common pavement ants are completely benign; they do not bite or sting.
So which types of ants may cause a problem? Below we’ve listed types of ants found in Ontario that have the potential to bite or sting.
Types of Ants in Ontario That Bite
- Fire Ants
- Carpenter Ants
Left: A picture of a fire ant; Right: A picture of a carpenter ant
Ants use their jaws, otherwise known as mandibles, to grab or pinch an object. When they bite humans, it can cause discomfort. You are more likely to suffer from an ant bite than an ant sting because more types of ants that bite are found in Canada.
Ant Bite Treatment
While getting bitten by an ant is fairly unusual, knowing proper ant bite treatments is important. Generally if you suffer from an ant bite there is a little swelling, redness and an itchy feeling around the bite. In case of a normal ant bite, the body can resolve the bite without any medical intervention. Firstly, it is advisable to wash the ant bite with warm water and soap. Secondly, use alcohol to sterilize it and reduce the risk of infection. If your ant bite seems more severe or infected, or does not begin to fade after a week, contact a medical professional.
Types of Ants in Ontario That Sting
- Female Fire Ants
Female ants are the ones that possess venom and sting with a stinger. The only type of ant found in Ontario that can sting is the fire ant. These types of ants are uncommon in Canada, as they originate in the tropics and cannot survive the harsh winters. However, in the past, travellers who visit warmer climates have transported fire ants to Canada, causing small pockets of fire ant infestation.
Ant Sting Treatment
Fire ants are an example of ants that both bite and sting. They use their mandibles to get hold of their target and then sting to release venom. That’s the reason why it is tough to remove fire ants after they bite. They don’t let go of the victim until they release their venom.
Most ant stings won’t require professional intervention and will heal on their own. If your ant stings are extremely painful, a paste of baking soda and water can be applied to ease the pain and control the itching sensation. In rare extreme cases, the entire body can overreact to the bite, causing an allergic reaction. If this happens, swelling can occur in the mouth or throat. In such cases, immediate medical treatment is required.
Prevention is Better Than a Cure
It’s always better to be on the safe side and prevent the entry of ants into your house or kill ants if you spot them. If you have severe ant problems that you can’t handle on your own,