August 23, 2022

Carpenter Ant Bite: Information and Treatments

Some household pests are nuisances, while others can cause damage to your home!

Carpenter ants, like termites and carpenter bees, are common culprits for interior or foundation wood damage. However, can a carpenter ant bite cause more harm?

Check out our blog, where we’ll tell you everything you should know about biting carpenter ants and how to care for any injuries.

Will a Carpenter Ant Bite or Sting?

Ants are unique insects. Instead of solely biting or stinging their prey, some of these pests can utilize both defensive mechanisms to incapacitate their next meal or defend against invaders entering their homes.

Some ant-related injuries concern their painful stings, which can leave behind tiny itchy welts on your skin. Ant species like fire ants will regularly sting their victims and inject venom.

However, not every ant in the United States is capable of stinging. Most ants can only bite their targets and spray a painful acid onto the wound. 

Unlike fire ants, carpenter ants lack a stinger, so they cannot attack their prey by biting down and stinging. Instead, carpenter ants use their large, sharp mandibles to latch onto your skin.

Carpenter ants are the largest in the United States, with workers typically measuring at around half an inch. Queen ants can grow even larger and reach up to an inch long, according to the National Park Service

Because of their size, a carpenter ant bite can pack quite a punch. Carpenter ants have large serrated mandibles that quickly pierce through skin. As they bite you, carpenter ants utilize a small venom gland to disperse venom onto the wound. 

Formic acid isn’t dangerous to humans in small concentrations but can still cause skin irritation. Those allergic to formic acid may experience complications or severe reactions to ant bites. 

Treating a Carpenter Ant Bite

While carpenter ants can’t sting you, they can still give you a rather painful bite. Carpenter ants won’t swarm and attack as aggressively as fire ants, but you still risk injury whenever you disturb a carpenter ant colony in your home.

After a carpenter ant bites you, promptly clean the area with soap and water. Unlike other biting insect species, carpenter ants can’t transmit harmful pathogens through bites, but you’ll still want to keep the wounds clean. 

Washing the bitten areas should remove the venom and help prevent infection. While the bites will begin to itch, avoid scratching your skin! Your wounds need time to heal, and constant irritation could impede the healing process or encourage infection. 

Try using a cold compress or ice pack to minimize the bite’s swelling, especially if the carpenter ants have bitten you multiple times. 

If the bites are too hard to handle, you can purchase an over-the-counter antihistamine cream to ease unbearable itching. You should notice a decrease in swelling and rednesses after a few days. 

Bite Complications

Typically, ant bites are just run-of-the-mill insect injuries. Most encounters with ants shouldn’t result in any long-lasting side effects, and the wounds generally finish healing after a week. 

However, those allergic to formic acid or other venom components may experience debilitating symptoms after a few bites. 

Allergic reactions may cause extreme swelling or difficulty breathing. Younger children are more susceptible to adverse reactions, so always keep an eye on children that have existing insect allergies. 

If you have trouble breathing or experience facial swelling, contact a medical professional or visit the emergency room to avoid a severe allergic reaction. Some over-the-counter medication can help mitigate the side effects but always consult with a doctor. 

Avoiding Carpenter Ant Bites

So, is there a way to prevent getting bitten? Carpenter ants typically inhabit water-damaged or damp wood, so any frequently wet place in your home could become a hotspot for these destructive pests. 

Avoid approaching or interacting with the colony if you find carpenter ants inside or outside your home. While they aren’t as aggressive as fire ants, they will still attack anything threatening their hive. 

Carpenter ants won’t generally bite you unless mishandled or you’re encroaching on their space. You’ll usually find the ants inhabiting your kitchen, bathrooms, or near water heaters. 

An easy way to avoid getting bitten is to eradicate the infestation in your home. You’ll save yourself from a painful carpenter ant bite and avoid the cost of extensive home damage!

These pests can crawl into your home through small holes or cracks on your home’s exterior walls. Once they access your home’s inner foundation, the ants can begin chewing through wooden beams or supports to create indoor nests. 

Unlike termites, carpenter ants cannot cause significant damage, but they can still depreciate your home and leave you with a hefty repair bill. Mending any small openings or gaps can prevent these pests from coming inside. 

Removing their food and water sources is another great way to keep these and other pests at bay. Carpenter ants don’t eat the wood they tunnel through and require other sources of nutrition to stay alive– many of which are in your kitchen!

Regularly cleanse your kitchen, dining room, and other eating areas to avoid leaving a crumb trail for these ants to find. Be sure to clean up any cooking spills and routinely dispose of your trash to keep your home tidy.

When to Contact a Pest Control Agency

Are you still struggling with carpenter ants and wanting to avoid further home damage? Look no further! Our trained technicians can handle insect infestations like carpenter ants. 

We know how much you value your home and want to help you keep it safe. Storebought carpenter ant repellents and pesticides aren’t always effective. Plus, these pests can hide away in hard-to-reach places that aren’t easily accessible.

If you’re having trouble handling these pests alone, give us a call! Contact us today to learn more about our services or schedule a carpenter ant treatment!

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