There’s nothing worse than your picnic being interrupted by some unfriendly intruders. These intruders initially seem like they’re interested in your meal and come to your lunch date with a bit of an attitude. These intruders are currently running rampant all over our Coachella Valley. Possible lurking outside your house at this very moment. I’m talking about fire ants of course.

The fire ant is a wingless insect that prefer sunny grassy areas to start their colonies, which sometimes go years without being detected until a very uncomfortable meet up happens. What makes a fire ants bite so painful is they hit with a two punch interaction. First they bite with their mandibles latching onto the skin then curve their bodies and sting with a rear stinger attached to the end of their abdomen. Fire ants are also able to bite multiple times within seconds.

When one feels a fire ant bite, a burning sensation begins, giving the name fire ant. Once bitten the skin starts to form a small wheal similar to a normal ant bite followed by itching redness and sometimes swelling. Within the next 24 hours a pustule develops at the site that ruptures within several days. These bites have the possibility to leave small scars as well. If you feel nauseous, experience vomiting or diarrhea or have a hard time breathing get to an emergency care center immediately.

There are simple steps to help alleviate the pain associated with fire ant bites.

  1. Start by cleansing the area with cool soapy water.
  2. If available take a Benadryl or similar antihistamine to reduce swelling and help with the reaction of the venom from the ant bite.
  3. Ibuprophen or Advil will also help reduce pain from the bite if needed.
  4. Then apply an ice pack or ice wrapped in a towel to the area to reduce swelling,
  5. Applying Hydrocortisone and calamine lotion to the site will help with the burning and itching symptoms.

After these treatments have been performed keep a close eye on your bite site to make sure your bites are not getting infected. Always keep the area clean and do not pop the pustules that result from the bite. Popping the pustules make you more susceptible for infection and scarring. If needed seek medical attention if these at home remedies don’t provide relief or the bite site seems to worsen.

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