FA Youth Home > Ouch! I’ve Been Stung by a Fire Ant!
|Fire ant stings on an infant’s hand||Pustules formed by fire ant stings|
How Fire Ants Sting
Thousands of fire ants live in just one fire ant nest. If a mound is disturbed, hundreds of ants immediately rush out, climb on whatever disturbed them, including humans, and sting. There is some debate about what triggers the ants to sting at the same time instead of individually. Generally, it will take 10 to 20 seconds after climbing up on the victim for the stinging to begin.
Single worker ants can bite and sting several times. The worker attaches to the skin with its chewing mouth parts (mandibles) pulling the skin, pinching it, and raising it slightly. This causes a pricking sensation. Then the ant arches its back, doubling under its abdomen, and forces the stinger into the skin. After inflicting the first sting, it may remove the stinger and, rotating or pivoting the head, may sting several more times, leaving a circular pattern of sting sites.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medline, Fire Ant
- Red Imported Fire Ant in New Mexico – Potential Medical Problems