Fire ants have a painful sting and leave a burning or itching sensation on the skin that can last up to an hour.

Encounters with fire ants can involve tens or hundreds of ants; they tend to swarm and all sting at once repeatedly. The pain of a fire ant sting can last up to an hour.

Fire ant stinging human

Fire ant stings are painful, and can cause:

  • a severe burning or fiery sensation
  • swelling
  • redness.

Unlike other insect stings, fire ant venom builds up in the body. This means the more you, your pet or an animal is stung the greater the risk of an extreme reaction.

Not only do their stings hurt, they can cause life-threatening allergic reactions.
Video credit: National Geographic

In some cases, fire ant stings can lead to a severe and sometimes fatal allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

If you experience any symptoms of a severe reaction, seek urgent medical advice.

After a few hours (or even a day or two), small blisters or pustules may form at sting sites. These may become itchy and can take up to 10 days to heal.

Images courtesy of Alex Wild