The other day I got out of my car at Kroger and stepped, in a spilled liquid spot, and my leg was instantly covered in fire ants. I immediately started swatting them and took off and emptied my shoe. I got bit 15-20 times around my ankle.
That’s when I noticed that I was getting bitten on my arm. I finally got them all and went shopping. I experienced bad itching the net day but I was also getting phantom bites. I didn’t know if this was even a thing so I decided to check it out.
During the itching, I would all of a sudden feel like a fire ant was biting me in a spot. I would reach to kill it and notice there wasn’t one there, even though the pain was equal to when I was actually getting bitten.
Fire ant bites are painful and then give way to itching and skin irritation that can last a few hours or days. People that are allergic can have symptoms of anaphylaxis (reaction of the body to a foreign substance like, medication, food and insect stings) in just a few minutes.
There are several species of fire ants here in the United States. The two most prominent in the United States, both from South America, are the reddish / brownish Solenopsis invicta and the black Solenopsis richteri. Fire ant venom is a cocktail of 46 proteins and causes minor skin irritation in most. Of course, if you receive a multitude of stings at once the reactions can be more severe even in non-allergic victims. As the stings heal they will sometimes form a pus-filled blister that look like pimples.
If you, or someone, is attacked seriously you may experience
- Trouble with breathing
- Swelling of the tongue or throat
- Loss of consciousness
If left untreated, these allergic reactions can cause the body to go into shock. You obviously will need immediate medical attention. Hydrocortisone cream is excellent for itching, worked great for mine, and taking an antihistamine is also a good idea.
In my opinion, a good ant is a DEAD ant. My favorite treatment are the little pellets that treat your whole yard. The worker ants pick them up (they are obviously delicious) and carry them back to the queen, killing her and destroying the whole colony.
Now to answer that question I had about phantom fire ant bites. I found nothing that mentioned them. No posts of anyone with the same issue. I am diabetic and have some nerve ending issues. Maybe that explains the weird problem. So there you go.