Beaufort Fire Ant
The fire ant is a VERY aggressive small red ant that lives in mounds resembling either a small hill or a crater. The mound, if stepped on, will usually feel "softer" than the surrounding terrain. Most of the time, you won't be aware you are standing on or near the mound. Fire Ants will attack anything that disturbs their mound or their feeding area.
The Fire Ant Attack
The classic attack occurs when the fire ant mound is disturbed by accident. The unaware victim won't even notice the attack... until many ants have positioned themselves on the victims skin. Then... All at once the ants begin to bite with their powerful jaws, arching their backs and stabbing the victim with a stinger located in its rear abdomen. Each ant can sting many times and each sting releases a toxin that is responsible for a burning pain, hence their name "fire ant". A few stings are really not much of a problem, as not enough toxin is released to really do any real harm. But... hundreds of ants, each stinging 8 or 9 times can be painful enough to make any victim look from then on... "where thy foot lands"!!!
After the Attack
After being stung, the wound forms a red welt, about twice the size of a normal freckle. The next day, a white pustule (blister) forms. The most common symptom, other than the burning pain when the sting happens, is a mild itch. The itch usually lasts no more than a few days. If the pustule is popped or broken open, an infection and scaring can occur. It is best to just leave it alone and let nature do its work. Most of the time, no real damage is done other than a renewed and long lasting respect for these midget sized warriors.
When Fire Ants Become an Emergency
Although very RARE, an attack can bring on a life threatening anaphylactic reaction, particularly if allergic to bee stings. Immediate emergency treatment is required if the victim show any symptoms of shock. (See page 2 for more fire ant info)