Formic Acid and Ant Bites

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The words Formic Acid are derived from the Latin root-word formica meaning ant. Formic acid is a toxic substance contained in ant venom and is used for self defense or for attacking rivals. Species of ants that produce formic acid are known as Formicianae. Not all ants have this toxin and if you located an ant colony near your home it is better to call an ant control Toronto company to deal with them before they invade your property. 
Most people believe that ants inject formic acid into humans through the bite. Truth is ants only bite to hold prey, to attack or to defend themselves. The venom is transmuted in one of two ways; by injecting their victim using a stinger located at the tip of the ant’s abdomen or by spraying venom through the acidopore. The acidopore is a tiny opening located where the stinger would be and sprays venom similar to how a skunk sprays.

The concentration of formic acid in ant venom is too small to be fatal to humans although people who are allergic can experience severe swelling from a sting.

It is interesting to note that some ant species use their formic acid to neutralize venom from rival ants. Tawny crazy ants, for example, douse themselves with their own venom to counteract the effects of fire ant venom. Exactly how formic acid seems to neutralize the protein and alkaloid-based venom of fire ants is unknown to researchers.

Formic acid was first extracted from ants in 1671 by the English naturalist John Ray.

How to Treat Ant Bite

As previously mentioned, what you would be treating is an ant sting rather than an ant bite. The burning or itching sensation comes from the ant’s venom which contains formic acid. Ants without stingers may spray their venom where they have bitten.

Semantics aside, you can ease the discomfort by simply washing the affected area with soap and water. Multiple stings can cause more severe pain and discomfort which can be eased with over-the-counter topical aloe-vera based creams or topical steroids. Antihistamines also help to bring down swelling and reduce the itching or burning sensation.

Visit a doctor immediately you notice signs of a severe allergic reaction such as dizziness, nausea and/or difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Lastly, avoid scratching the bites as this could cause them to get infected.

How to Get Rid of Ants

The best way to get rid of ants in Toronto is to call an expert exterminator. Successful ant removal depends largely on proper identification and using the appropriate pesticides, equipment and method.

Many DIY pesticides claim to kill all kinds of ants but there is no such thing as a one-size-fit-all solution to an ant problem. Each species of ant requires its own unique extermination formula. The pest control expert will also help you identify what attracted the ants to your property in the first place and will help remedy the situation to guarantee that the ants don’t come back in future.

Call The Exterminators Inc. if you need help deal with carpenter ants or with any other pests. Call 647-496-2211 for pest control solutions in Toronto.

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Joe The Exterminator
Joe The Exterminator

Joe is a professional pest control exterminator with over 15 years of experience and enjoys sharing his knowledge about different pests and how you can deal with them.