Ant bites can range from a mild irritant to life threatening, depending on the ant and the number of bites.
Unlike other bugs, ants aren’t usually painted with a dramatic and deadly image. They’re mostly just brushed off as a nuisance around the house.
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However, that small nuisance crawling on your wall right now can actually cause death. So are ants dangerous? Find out as we discuss the answer to that age old question.
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Ants are a Threat to Your House
Although ants lack the destructive tendencies of termites, they do hold their own when it comes to damaging your house. While this is not labeled as ‘dangerous’, it is infuriating to spend a lot of money for pest control and repairs.
The most common ant that does this is the carpenter ant. These little insects have developed mandibles strong enough to bite their way through wooden structures and deform them. They don’t eat the wood. They just bite off it to build their nest and to make tunnels and galleries.
According to Modern Pest, these ants will eat through moist wood inside or outside your house. You usually won’t notice them until you see the damage yourself. You’ll see them in hollowed out wood in moist environments like in your bathroom, the shower and underneath the sink. They can also colonize window and door frames, walls and insulation.
Ants are Dangerous to People with Allergies
How about our bodies? Are ants dangerous to our health?
Ants are generally harmless to our health. They’re not known to bring bacteria and any diseases inside the house. Common ants also don’t give out deadly venoms when they bite or sting. However, these can be considered as a real threat to a specific group of people – yes, people who have allergies.
Fire ants, for example, bite and sting in massive numbers when disturbed. Their stings can cause severe pain, like the feeling of being burned. And the aftermath can be an allergic reaction.
According to Dermnetnz, these allergic reactions can come in four categories:
A Local Reaction
This is the most common and the most harmless reaction. Depending on the ant that attacked you, the bitten/stung part just swells up into a thickened red weal that feels itchy and painful.
This reaction can last up to a day.
A Large Local Reaction
A larger local reaction can cover 5 to 10 cm of the skin. It’s more painful and itchy, and it usually develops into an erythema or a blister.
The good news is that the condition only lasts about several days. Depending on the ant that stung or bit you, it can heal in about 1 to 10 days.
A Mild Systemic Reaction
This reaction is rare. In fact, it only affects .4% to .8% of ant bites/ stings.
A Severe Systemic Reaction
This reaction is where ants become deadly. It’s a reaction where 2 organ systems in the body are affected by the ant’s venom, even though they’re nowhere near the bite/sting area.
What happens during this reaction is anaphylaxis. You’ll experience severe swelling in some parts of your body. It can be your face and/or your larynx. You’ll have breathing difficulty, terrible chest pain, hoarseness, flushing, wheezing, hypotension, dizziness, abdominal pain, vomiting and or cramping.
So are ants dangerous? In certain scenarios, yes.
The worst thing that can happen to you when ants are around is a severe allergic reaction. While this may seem farfetched, it’s a real danger for children, elderly and differently abled members of the family who have terrible allergies.
So if you have an ant problem, you better fix it right away, especially if you have kids in the house.