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Do Black House Ants Bite?

February 28, 2022
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Black ants are one of the most common nuisance pests that you may find wandering in your home. You’ll often see them lined up in a trail as they go in and out of their ant nests in search of food and water. Compared to other household insects, spotting ants aren’t always a cause for concern and they’re usually harmless as long as they don’t view you as a threat to their entire colony. 

So how common is it for black house ants to bite people? When black house ants bite, they do it to protect their nests from threats and keep intruders away. They aren’t aggressive and they won’t bite people for no reason. A carpenter ant bite is not as painful and dangerous since they don’t release any poisonous venom. However, they do let out formic acid which can cause slight irritation or a burning sensation to the skin.  

Learn More: How To Get Rid of Black Ants Inside The House

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What To Know About Black House Ants and Their Bites 

Ants may be small but they have a set of strong mandibles that they use to pick up and carry their food, and to create tunnels or galleries in wood to build their nesting places. These mandibles are also what you feel when you notice a tiny ant on your skin. Ants are said to have incredible jaw strength and they can give a powerful bite that can penetrate the human skin. 

When it comes to black house ants, both the carpenter ant and little black ant may carry some degree of bite risks to people. Here’s an overview on how to distinguish between the two black ants and their bites: 

 Black carpenter ant Little black ant (Monomorium minimum) 
What they look like They’re the most common species of ants that usually appear black or brown with reddish legs. Minor workers of this ant species can be 1/4 inch in length while major workers measure about 1/2 inch long. They have an evenly smoothed thorax with bent antennae on their head. Their jaws or mandibles are located at the front, and behind the mandibles is their mouth which they use to eat their food. Unlike carpenter ants that are identified by their big bodies, these little black ants are small and usually appear 1/16 inch in length. They also have an antenna on their head with unevenly rounded bodies and thorax with no spines.  
How common are their bitesCarpenter ants only bite when they’re provoked. You’re most likely to get an ant bite when you accidentally come across their satellite nests and the black ants come to swarm to defend their home. When you see a carpenter ant nest in your home, it’s best to avoid them and contact a pest control professional to eliminate the risk of carpenter ant bites. While they also have a set of mandibles, little black ants don’t pose bite dangers to humans. They may sting a little but their bites aren’t as noticeable as the bite from a big black carpenter ant. 
What are the signs of their bite When their mandibles come into contact with human skin, they can release a small amount of formic acid which can cause a minor burning or painful stings. It can be itchy but you shouldn’t scratch them to avoid getting an infection. Other signs of carpenter ant bite can include swelling, redness, and visible marks. Due to their small size, the bite from a little black ant will not cause an obvious reaction on humans. They may elicit a temporary itchy sensation with which a quick scratch can help soothe the discomfort. 
Is their ant bite dangerousTheir formic acid isn’t at all venomous or toxic so it will rarely cause any health risk or severe allergic reaction. No, little black ant bites are not dangerous. They’re not harmful social insects and are only a nuisance to the home. 

First Aid Reminders When You Get A Carpenter Ant Bite 

The good thing about most carpenter ant bites is that they can be easily remedied at home. With immediate first aid treatment, they can go away and heal fully within several days of the bite incident. Here are some tips for when you need to treat a carpenter ant bite: 

  • Disinfect the site: Clean the bite with water and soap to wash away the formic acid. Dry the area with a cool clean cloth. 
  • Apply a cold compress: If you notice any inflammation or swelling on the bite site, an ice pack or cold compress can help reduce the sensation.
  • Bandage and cover the bite: If the skin on the wound is broken, you can put an antibiotic ointment to clean the area and avoid skin infections. It’s also best to cover the bite site with a bandage to allow it to heal without any risk of any bacteria entering the wound. 
  • Don’t scratch the bite: It’s a general reminder to avoid scratching the wounded site to avoid further irritating or infecting the skin. You may use an ice pack or apply antihistamine cream to temporarily get relief from itching. 

Allergic reactions from a black ant bite are very rare but when they happen, it’s important to seek immediate medical help. Some signs of allergic reaction from an ant bite can be difficulty breathing, hives on the skin, increased heart rate, flu-like symptoms, or pale skin. 

Why Do Black Ants Bite? 

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Ants bite for one main reason: to defend their ant colony. Like most insects and pests, if ants detect threats to their indoor nests, they will become defensive and put their mandibles to use to bite and protect themselves and their colonies. Although they’re also predatory in nature, black ants aren’t aggressive and they usually don’t view humans as their prey. So as long as you steer clear of their nest location and avoid disturbing them, you’re safe from their bites. 

Other Types of Ants That May Bite 

There are over a thousand common ant species in the world and there are specific types that are known to have an alarming bite. Here’s how you can identify other ants and their bite symptoms: 

  • Fire ants - These ants have unique black or red-colored bodies with long stingers. They’re notoriously known to have a painful ant sting when they attack you. They also release venom which can cause pain and itching for several days. Their bites can often lead to swelling and leave localized red bumps or marks on the skin.
  • Pharaoh ants - These types of ants can bite but they aren’t as painful as the fire ants. They rarely use their stingers and pose very little threat to people. However, it’s important to get rid of their infestations since they carry potentially harmful diseases like salmonella.
  • Pavement ants - Like carpenter ants, they’re also protective and can bite people when they are disturbed. However, their stingers are weak so they won’t cause as much discomfort when they bite.
  • Acrobat ants - Acrobat ants are known for raising their abdomen whenever they are alarmed. When they’re on the hunt for sweet food, their worker ants may use their stingers to attack other creatures that prey on their food. They can also bite if their nests are attacked. An acrobat ant bite can cause some itching, pain, and minor swelling.
  • Sugar ants - Sugar ants are docile and they rarely bite humans. Similar to black ants, they don’t have venom and their mandibles can pinch the skin and release the same formic acid. 

Read More: How To Get Black Ants Out Of Your House Without Killing Them

How To Avoid Getting Bitten By Black House Ants 

The best way to avoid getting an ant bite is to carefully navigate areas where you suspect there might be ant activity. You should also avoid disturbing their ant trail and don’t touch or swipe them away with your hands. Likewise, you should also be proactive in keeping your house clean and less attractive for carpenter ants. Here are some tips to prevent a black ant infestation in your home: 

  • Seal any holes, cracks, or small openings which can serve as an ant entry point 
  • Remove any water source and repair leaks to avoid gathering excess moisture
  • Store all dry and sugar foods in tightly-sealed containers
  • Keep away any wood sources like firewood, decayed wood, or tree stumps from your home and avoid storing them indoors since carpenter ants like to create their nest inside wooden structures 
  • Make sure all surfaces and counters in the kitchen are free from food debris 
  • Inspect the home regularly for signs of carpenter ant infestation such as wood shavings, long ant trails outdoors, discarded wings on your windowsills
  • Call a pest control professional to help set up measures for controlling ant population 

Solve All Your Ant Infestation Problems With Positive Pest Management 

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Bites from carpenter ants don’t pose any serious health risks but its symptoms can still be uncomfortable. The only way to assure that your family is safe from black ant bites is to eliminate their infestation before they get worse. 

At Positive Pest Management, our team of pest control experts strive to find and eliminate the source of your ant problem as efficiently as possible. We’re committed to providing professional pest control services including inspection and extermination to ensure a safe and pest-free environment. Contact us today to get a free quote or know about our ant infestation services.

Read More: How To Kill Small Black Sugar Ants Surrounding Your House

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