Closeup image of a black carpenter antThe burn that accompanies a carpenter ant bite has led to a lot of misunderstandings. That confusion starts with the bite itself and related issues like a carpenter ant bite allergy. The good news is that carpenter ants aren’t usually aggressive and tend to avoid humans. Generally, a carpenter ant bite happens when you are disrupting or get too close to their nest, and they’re protective.

Do Carpenter Ants Bite?

Ants don’t have teeth… so the term “bite” is incorrect. Carpenter ants do have powerful jaws that enable them to chew through wood. What people label as a “carpenter ant bite” is actually their mandibles pinching and, due to their jaw strength, they will break skin.

The pain and burning sensation that accompanies a carpenter ant “bite” is due to formic acid, which they secrete. Formic acid is also found in stinging nettles and transmitted by some other types of ants and insects.

What Happens If You Get Bit by a Carpenter Ant?

Unlike fire ant bites – which can be serious due to their venom and tendency to swarm – a carpenter ant bite is generally just an irritation and usually happen individually or just a small number. The injured area will sting or burn and can become red or swollen.

In the event of an injury caused by a carpenter ant, the usual first aid procedures apply. Clean the wound to avoid infection, and don’t scratch for the same reason. If the burning or stinging sensation persists, a topical steroid or ointment may help. Cover the injury to prevent dirt from getting in and causing an infection.

➤ How Painful Is a Carpenter Ant Bite?

That will depend upon the amount of formic acid applied during the “bite” (actually, a skin-breaking pinch). But while the burning sensation is painful… it shouldn’t last terribly long. In general, the pain is no worse than a bee sting and is often less painful than that.

➤ Do Carpenter Ant Bites Itch?

The stinging or burning sensation from a carpenter ant bite isn’t exactly itchy, but many people will react to the sensation by scratching. That’s not recommended, though, because it can lead to infection.

➤ Are Carpenter Ant Bites Poisonous?

The short answer is no, carpenter ant bites aren’t poisonous. The more accurate answer has two points. First, carpenter ants produce formic acid – which is an irritant – but not a venom or poison.

Second, people will often refer to a creature as being “poisonous.” In reality, poison refers to toxic compounds you eat. For example, A plant can be poisonous but not a creature. When something toxic bites or stings you, it injects venom. Pests can be venomous and plants can be poisonous… but not the other way around.

Can You Be Allergic to Ant Bites?

Some people think that you can’t have a carpenter ant bite allergy. That’s wrong, though an allergic reaction to most ant bites is uncommon. Bee sting allergies are much more common by comparison.

Symptoms of a carpenter ant bite allergy include:

  • Swelling of the face, throat and/or tongue
  • Problems breathing
  • Hives
  • Pale or flushed skin
  • Rapid and/or weak pulse rate
  • Dizziness, fainting, or losing consciousness
  • Vomiting, nausea and/or diarrhea

Arrow Exterminates Ants

Don’t let ants drive you buggy. If you think you have an ant problem, keep your family safe and prevent it from getting worse by calling Arrow Exterminating to identify the type of ant and eliminate them. To get started, contact Arrow Exterminating today.

Why Do Carpenter Ant Bites Burn? Serving Long Island, New York City, and surrounding areas

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