You are probably aware that fire ants are not a big problem in our area. They are less dangerous simply because they're not common. But, if you are one of the unlucky few who have found fire ants in your yard, they can present a threat. It is important that you understand this threat.
Can Fire Ants Kill?
Yes. But it is extremely rare. The circumstances for fire ant bites to be lethal are quite specific. Death occurs when an allergic individual has a severe reaction to the venom of a fire ant and anaphylaxis is the result.
How likely are you to die from anaphylaxis?
- There are few studies of anaphylaxis in the United States.
- Based on data collected in the states and also abroad, it is estimated that anaphylaxis is linked to between .5 to 5.5 per million in population. This works out to about 1,500 deaths annually in the U.S.
- Death is reported to occur in .65 to 2 percent of patients experiencing a severe anaphylactic response.
- The lowest U.S. fatality rate was .2 percent in patients that were 20 years or younger. This study was conducted in New York between 1990 and 2006.
These, and other statistics, reveal that anaphylaxis is rarely fatal and that the number of anaphylaxis-related cases that result in death is quite low. When you couple this with the low incidence of fire ants in Sacramento, it is easy to see that fire ants are rarely dangerous here.
Most Fire Ant "Bites"
If you are stung by fire ants, the result is not likely to be anaphylaxis. What most people experience are fiery wounds that itch like crazy. This intense itching can cause you to scratch the wounds and make them worse. If you do, they could become infected. It is important to keep this in mind. While the threat of severe infection is low, it is best to keep the wounds clean and treat them with antibacterial cream if they get worse.
Should You Be Concerned?
It is wise to take precautions when you discover fire ants. While the risk is low, and you're only likely to get burning, itchy wounds, there are some factors to consider.
- While extremely rare, some have been caught off guard by the quick and silent way anaphylaxis can creep in. If you experience flu-like symptoms after being bitten by fire ants, seek medical attention immediately.
- Fire ant allergy can develop later in life. If you've been bitten many times without any reaction, it doesn't mean you'll never have an allergy. When you detect fire ants in your yard, or in a place you visit, it may be wise to get an allergy test.
- Babies are uniquely vulnerable to fire ants because they can't explain why they're crying. If you notice fire ant mounds around your home, be aware that these ants can get inside. If your baby is crying, fire ants could be the cause of the distress.
- Fire ants can be a threat to the infirm. If you have an elderly parent that needs medication to sleep, they may not realize they're being stung. It only takes one fire ant to cause an allergic reaction. Take extra precautions when you detect fire ants around your home if you are caring for someone.
General Fire Ant Response
When fire ants come into your yard, it is best to address them quickly. We all work together to deter the spread of red imported fire ants in the Sacramento region. The action you take in your yard will not only protect you and the ones you love, it will help to protect others in your neighborhood. It is difficult to know when, and how often, fire ants will present a serious threat. But it is good to get rid of fire ants even if it is for no other reason than that they are miserable pests to have in your yard. No one in Sacramento has ever been caught saying, "Boy! I'm glad I have all these fire ants in my yard!"
HomeShield Pest Control
When frustrating, and potentially dangerous, pests come into your Sacramento yard, remember that the service team here at HomeShield Pest Control is standing by to assist you. We use the most advanced pest control strategies and targeted fire ant control products, to effectively eliminate fire ant colonies. If you have questions about how we perform fire ant treatments, or you'd like to request service for your Sacramento property, contact us. While the risk of a dangerous encounter with fire ants is quite low, it is best to mitigate this threat by investing in effective fire ant control for your yard. Don't let these ants surprise you and bring heartache to your family. Reach out to us today for assistance.