Ant venom

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Ant venom
Sterile pustules 3 days after fire ant stings.
SpecialtyEmergency medicine

Ant venom is any of, or a mixture of, irritants and toxins inflicted by ants. Most ants spray or inject a venom, the main constituent of which is formic acid only in the case of subfamily Formicinae.

Ant stings

Solenopsis invicta, the lava-pés or red imported fire ant and typical pustules caused by ants' stings

Of all extant ant species, about 71% are considered to be stinging species, as some subfamilies have evolutionarily lost the ability to sting.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]: 450 

First aid for fire ant bites includes external treatments and oral medicines.[citation needed]

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;[5] they can be fatal if not treated.

See also


  1. 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.
  2. Fox E.G.P. (2014) Venom Toxins of Fire Ants. In: Gopalakrishnakone P., Calvete J. (eds) Venom Genomics and Proteomics. Springer, Dordrecht
  3. James, William D.; Berger, Timothy G.; et al. (2006). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: clinical Dermatology. Saunders Elsevier. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0.
  4. 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.
  5. "Insects and Scorpions". The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 2008-10-22. Archived from the original on 2015-09-03. Retrieved 2008-11-04.

External links