|Sterile pustules 3 days after fire ant stings.|
Of all extant ant species, about 71% are considered to be stinging species, as some subfamilies have evolutionarily lost the ability to sting. Notable examples include a few species of medical importance, such as Solenopsis (fire ants), Pachycondyla, Myrmecia (bulldog ants), and Paraponera (bullet ants). In the case of fire ants, the venom consists mainly of alkaloid (>95%) and protein (<1%) components. Stinging ants cause a cutaneous condition that is different from that caused by biting venomous ants. Particularly painful are stings from fire ants, although the bullet ant's sting is considered by some to be the most painful insect sting.:450
First aid for fire ant bites includes external treatments and oral medicines.
- External treatments: a topical steroid cream (hydrocortisone), or one containing Aloe vera
- Oral medicines: antihistamines
- Applying zinc oxide or calamine lotion .
Severe allergic reactions can be caused by ant stings in particular and venomous stings in general, including severe chest pain, nausea, severe sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling, fever, dizziness, and slurred speech; they can be fatal if not treated.
- Touchard, Axel; Aili, Samira; Fox, Eduardo; Escoubas, Pierre; Orivel, Jérôme; Nicholson, Graham; Dejean, Alain (20 January 2016). "The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms". Toxins. 8 (1): 30. doi:10.3390/toxins8010030. PMC 4728552. PMID 26805882.
- Fox E.G.P. (2014) Venom Toxins of Fire Ants. In: Gopalakrishnakone P., Calvete J. (eds) Venom Genomics and Proteomics. Springer, Dordrecht
- James, William D.; Berger, Timothy G.; et al. (2006). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: clinical Dermatology. Saunders Elsevier. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0.
- Bastiaan M. Drees (December 2002). "Medical Problems And Treatment Considerations For The Red Imported Fire Ant" (PDF). Texas A&M University. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
- "Insects and Scorpions". The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2008-11-04.