When it rains in the Lowcountry, it important to watch your step. Sure, there will be puddles and a good deal of mud, but the real danger is fire ants. These tiny insects don’t mess around and could be invading your backyard. Here are ten things you should know about fire ants in South Carolina.
1. Their Sting Can Be Painful
Most people, after being stung by a fire ant, will feel a sharp pain and then notice a small red welt on their skin that might be a bit itchy. That’s it. Aside from being annoying, there won’t be any other trouble associated with this experience.
2. Know if You’re Allergic!
If you’re allergic to fire ants, it’s another matter entirely! The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that nearly 100 people die annually from fire ant stings. Less than 3% of adults and 1% of children will experience a severe allergic reaction that could be fatal if not treated immediately. Some of the common symptoms of an allergic reaction to fire ant stings include hives, vomiting, abdominal cramping, trouble breathing, dizziness, swelling of the tongue, and unconsciousness.
3. Minor Bites Are Simple to Treat
Assuming you aren’t allergic, it’s simple to treat a fire ant sting. Just wash the area with soap and water. If it is painful or swollen, ice can help. Also, a topical corticosteroid cream or oral antihistamine can treat any itchiness.
4. An Extreme Reaction is More Complicated
If you know that you are allergic to insect bites, you may wish to carry an EpiPen for emergencies. It’s also a good idea to seek immediate medical attention after noticing signs of an allergic reaction.
5. They Can Sting & Bite At the Same Time
Fire ants are excellent multitaskers. If you are in their crosshairs, this isn’t something you want to celebrate. They are capable of biting and stinging at the same time. Specifically, they’ll clamp onto you with their teeth and then back up and sting from their abdomen.
6. Fire Ants Love Rainfall
Watch out for fire ants after a strong period of rainfall. The rain fills up their mounts, and they come outside to dry off.
7. They Are an Invasive Species
Fire ants are not from around here. They arrived in the area from South America in the 1990s after they spread across some of the other southern states. A queen can lay up to 300,000 eggs per year, so we expect to see more of these insects in the coming years.
8. More Versions of Them Are Arriving
Even more versions of fire ants are continuing to arrive from South America. One, called Rasberry ants or tawny crazy ants, began moving north from Georgia about five years ago. This species is known for secreting acid on its victims and devouring electrical equipment.
9. Fire Ants Can Be Aggressive
You don’t even have to touch a fire ant’s home to become its victim. Just walking by is good enough. If they’re in your area, you should be prepared for an encounter.
10. Not All Bug Sprays Work
When you have fire ants in your yard, keep yourself protected. Wear thick shoes and layers of dark clothing. If you’d prefer not to dress for battle in your own home, wearing bug repellant with DEET can help to an extent, but it won’t get rid of the colonies. For this, you should consider partnering with a professional.
Whether your yard is already on fire or you’d like to prevent this from happening, MidSouth Termite & Pest Control can help. Since 1999, we’ve been keeping our client’s homes throughout the Columbia, SC area pest-free. Contact us today to learn more about how our services can help keep your home protected – for good.