Preventing Fire Ant Stings

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When working outdoors, employees may be exposed to a variety of insects. Fire ants are one type of insect that will sting its victim resulting in pain or allergic reactions.

Fire ants look much like regular ants. They are approximately one-eighth to one-fourth inch in length. They range from a reddish-brown to black color. Fire ants are aggressive insects that build mound-shaped nests. If you see one, do not disturb it. These ants will attack anything that disturbs their mound. The sting from a fire ant results in a circular pattern where the venom was injected.

Symptoms of fire ant stings:

  • Small, firm blister-like sore.
    • Occurs within 24-48 hours.
    • May be a site of secondary infection.
  • Nausea.
  • Shock.
  • Chest pain.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Swelling.
  • Coma in rare cases.

Prevention of fire ant stings:

  • Keep an eye out for mounds/nests.
  • Keep your distance from mounds/nests.
  • Wear boots.
  • Tuck pant legs into socks and boots.
  • Use insect repellant.
    • DEET.
    • Picaridin.

Treatment of fire ant stings:

  • Leave the area immediately if stung.
  • Brush off ants using a gloved hand or a cloth.
  • Consult your pharmacist for treatment of minor stings.
  • Obtain immediate medical care, especially if you have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or swelling.


KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.