Fire ants


Ants account for one half of all insects.

The most aggressive ants in the United States are imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta.

An estimated 14 million people a year are stung by fire ants in the US.

Imported fire ants include Solenopsis invicta, Solenopsis richteri, and their hybrid Solenopsis invicta x richteri.

Six known species of fire ants are present in the US

Infest more than 330 million acres of the southern U.S.

Favor disturbed habitats and progressive urbanization has accelerated spread.

The multiple queen organization, whereby multiple numerous egg laying queens reside in s single colony, permit up the 600 fire ant mounds per acre in some areas.

Can attack humans and animals.

Aan damage crops, farm equipment, electrical systems and irrigation systems.

Build mounds in sunny areas.

Sites of colonies may move to preserve colony survival during periods of environmental stress such as hot summers, dry summers or heavy rainfall.

Inhabited dwellings provide food, moisture and protection from weather variations and can allow human contact indoors.

Disturbing mounds cause swarming to the surface with propensity to stinging.

No effective agent to stop stinging by ants.

Estimated that 30-60% of individuals living in an infested urban environment are stung annually.

Stings more frequent in summer.

Stings are characterized by pain for a few minutes, followed by a wheal with the red flare developing shortly thereafter.

When the venom is injected it is characterized by intense burning sensation.

Within hours to a day after being stung, white fluid-filled pustules form.

Such pustules last for several days, and may become infected as related to scratching or abrasion.

Such pustules dry up in several weeks and may lead to a brown score that can last for months or years.

Up to 56% of victims may develop IgE mediated reactions and I experience itchy lumps at the site, called late cutaneous allergic reactions.

Lower extremities most typical site of involvement.

Fire is sting may cause other symptoms such as seizures, cerebrovascular accident, neuropathy, and nephrotic syndrome.

Children more commonly stung than adults.

Alkaloids are the major component of red fire ant venom accounting for 95%, with a small fraction of the venom containing soluble proteins.

About 99% of venom alkaloids consist of 2, 7-disubstituted piperidines, which have hemolytic, antibacterial, insecticidal, and cytotoxic properties.

Venom alkaloids do not induce IgE mediated allergic responses.

A protein component of the venom that makes up 0.1% of the phantom induces type one hypersensitivity in person is allergic to fire ants stings.

There is significant cross reactivity among venoms of SOLENOPSIS species.

Treatment is mainly supported to relieve pain and prevent infections.

Topical steroids, diphenhydramine, antibiotics, or epinephrine have no effect on the pustule formation.

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