Carpenter ants are a common household pest that uses their strong mandibles to munch through decaying and damp wood. When threatened, the insects use their powerful jaws to deliver an extremely painful bite that will usually break your skin. Call us for ant extermination services in Toronto.
Although they’re not venomous, carpenter ants do squirt formic acid into their bite. Although formic acid is not usually harmful to humans, you could suffer from serious complications in you are allergic to the chemical.
Why do carpenter ants bite?
Carpenter ants do not attack people, as long as you leave the insects alone. However, if the ants’ nest is disturbed or you try to handle them, you may get bitten. Most bites occur when someone accidentally disturbs a carpenter ants’ nest, for example, while gardening and tidying a mulched flower bed.
What is the effect of a carpenter ant bite?
Carpenter ant bites are painful, causing inflammation and swelling around the site of the injury. The skin around the bite is tender and irritated, and you’ll often feel an itching or burning sensation. These symptoms often linger until the puncture site has healed.
If you suffer from a serious allergic reaction to the carpenter ant’s bite, you may go into anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis is caused by a severe reaction to the formic acid that the ants inject. Symptoms include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Swelling of the throat and restricted airways
- Rapid heartbeat
- Flu-like symptoms
Treatment of an allergic reaction to carpenter ant bites
Anaphylaxis should be treated as a medical emergency.
If you are with someone who is bitten by a carpenter ant and has an allergic reaction, act immediately. Monitor the victim’s condition for the following:
- Cool, pale, and clammy skin
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Breathing difficulties
- Loss of consciousness
Call for emergency medical help right away.
Keep the victim lying down and, if possible, elevate his or her legs. If the person stops breathing, you will need to administer CPR. Keep checking the victim’s pulse.
How to use an autoinjector
Most people who have a known anaphylactic allergy carry a device called an autoinjector. An autoinjector device is a combination of a syringe and concealed needle that dispenses a single dose of medication when it is pressed against the person’s thigh.
If the person has an epinephrine autoinjector, use it immediately by pressing the device into the victim’s thigh and activating it.
The immediate use of an autoinjector can prevent anaphylaxis from becoming worse and may even save someone’s life.
How to prevent an allergic reaction to carpenter ant bites
Sometimes, a course of immunotherapy (allergy shots) can help to reduce the body’s response to carpenter ant bites and prevent a severe allergic reaction in the future.
However, unfortunately, in most cases, there is no treatment for the underlying immune system condition that can cause anaphylaxis. In that case, all you can do is carry your autoinjector with you at all times, and try to avoid coming into contact with carpenter ants.
If someone in your household has an allergy to carpenter ant bites, make sure that they have an epinephrine autoinjector with them at all times. You should also ensure that you know how to use the autoinjector, especially if the allergic person is a child.
If you have a carpenter ant problem, the best thing to do is call in a pest control professional to deal with the creatures. That’s especially important if you have a member of your household who has an allergy to the ants’ bites.