Florida has suffered over the past few decades from a massive influx of fire ants over the past several decades, and the mild winters and lack of natural predators has lead to the propogation of this species from coast to coast.
Fire ants can be recognized by their reddish-brown and black colors, as well as their ten segmented antennae and two segmented clubs. Once you idtenfiy them, it’s best to steer very clear of the pests. Not only are they known for their distinct look, but also their painful stings and bites.
So, is all that pain caused from biting or stinging? Both, actually. When you make your way into a fire ant hill, hopefully by accident, you present a threat to the colony’s home. Naturally, the ants are going to defend themselves. The female worker ants bite you before they start stinging, sinking their mandibles into your skin so that they get a good grip on you. Then they sting you multiple times as they move around in a circle, whereas most ants which simply bite and then spray acid on the created wound.
To identify fire ant stings, look for these symptoms:
Pain (intense burning sensation), redness, itching and swelling at the site of the fire ant sting.
A painful raised bump that becomes a pus-filled blister (pustule) in 6 to 24 hours and lasts for up to 10 days. The pustules may become infected.
Fire ants cause severe, life-threatening reactions in people who are allergic to them. Texas A&M says to watch for these symptoms of a severe allergic reaction:
Low blood pressure
Shortness of breath
A severe allergic reaction can lead to death. If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention.