First things first: fire ants do not really bite — they sting. They use their pinchers to grab hold of your skin, and the stingers they have pierce your skin, releasing a toxic substance called “solenopsin”. However, everyone still refers to fire ant stings as “fire ant bites” just like calling mosquito stings “mosquito bites” even though they actually sting.
Needless to say, fire ant bites can really hurt! Some people actually develop allergic reaction to it, requiring them to take antihistamines and/or apply hydrocortisone cream to put the problem under control.
Most of the time, fire ant bites look like red mounds on the skin. In some instances, they may be filled with pus. The bites can definitely itch, but it’s a no-no to scratch. First, it may break your skin and end up infected. Second, scratching will divert more blood into the area, making it easier for the toxin to spread to the surrounding tissue.
As soon as you are bitten by fire ants, it’s important to spring into action right away. Make sure that you move away from the mound — fire ants usually attack if you accidentally step or sit on their home. People with allergy on fire ants are suggested to pop an antihistamine in your mouth or reach for that tube of hydrocortisone cream.
Here are some of the smartest steps to take if you have been bitten by fire ants:
Disinfect With Soap and Water
Make sure that you disinfect the area right away with antibacterial soap and water. This helps remove some of the toxins and bacteria present, preventing much bigger problems from striking. If you don’t have immediate access to antibacterial soap and water, apply rubbing alcohol on the problem areas right away.
Soothe With Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is an effective all-natural remedy for various insect bites, including the ones caused by fire ants. All you have to do is apply a drop of this essential oil on every bite mark to attain relief from the pain as well as to ward off swelling. However, do make sure that the peppermint oil you have is the therapeutic grade kind.
Apply Cold Compress
You can quickly get rid of the pain associated with fire ant bites by applying cold compress on the problem areas. In a small piece of cloth or towel, wrap a few ice cubes. Place on the bitten area for a few minutes to attain relief from the pain and to lessen the inflammation. Remember not to place ice cubes directly on your skin.
Smear Paste Out of Baking Soda
Another way to quickly relieve the signs and symptoms of fire ant bites is by applying baking soda paste on them. All you have to do is add a few drops of water to a little amount of baking soda. Allow the paste to stay there for 15 to 20 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse off with cool water. Repeat application if you find it necessary.
Daub Toothpaste With Fluoride
One of the quickest ways to remedy fire ant bites is by applying toothpaste on each and every mound. Do make sure that the toothpaste you have contains fluoride — it’s what makes this home remedy work effectively. According to experts, fluoride helps neutralize the toxic substance left behind by the stingers of those fire ants.
Place Moist Tea Bags
Do you love drinking tea? Well, brew a cup of your favorite beverage so that you may drink something that can help you feel better, as well as to have an effective remedy for those pesky fire ant bites — the tea bag. While still hot, place the tea bag over the fire ant bites, although make sure that it’s not too hot as to leave your skin scalded.
Spread Some Aloe Vera Gel
Another effective all-natural remedy for fire ant bites is the gel inside the aloe vera leaf. That’s because it has soothing as well as anti-inflammatory properties, thus providing you with much-needed relief. Apply aloe vera gel on the problem areas several times a day until those bite marks no longer look inflamed.