26 Home Remedies For Fire Ant Bites

home remedies for fire ants bites

Fire ants originated in Brazil, but have become established in the US, spreading throughout the southern states.   A bite from this ant causes swelling and severe pain that is short-lived but the pain is replaced by long-lasting and intense itching. Fire ant bite blisters may also appear.  In rare cases, ant bites can cause death in humans [1] as the toxin is similar in chemistry to a bee or wasp sting and may cause an allergic reaction. If you want to know how to treat fire ant bites, then don’t worry, we have the fire ant bite remedy for you. Our home remedies for fire ant bites will give relief from the pain, reduce the swelling, and heal the fire ant blisters.

home remedies for fire ant bites

Fire ant bites

Fire ants attack en masse, in huge numbers to hunt their prey or when their nest has been disturbed or is under threat.

The fire ant will bite down with its mandibles, anchoring its body, before injecting venom through its stinger attached at the end of its abdomen.

Each ant will sting multiple times,  causing circular clustered lesions on the skin. The ant will rotate in a circle, stinging as it goes, before its venom is exhausted.

Unlike most ants whose venom is formic acid, the fire ant venom is alkaline and the fire ant bite treatments below reflect this important fact.

The fire ant bite and sting will first show up on the skin as a fire ant bite blister. The sheer number of ants that may attack can produce multiple red blisters that look similar to hives.

For most, fire ant bite swelling will appear and the red blisters will be painful at first and then extremely itchy for a few days afterward. The blisters may begin to ooze white pus after a few days.

For some people, a more severe reaction may occur to the fire ant venom. Swelling around the bite area is common and while swelling that extends beyond the bite area may also occur.

If there is a severe allergic reaction, symptoms of fire ant bites may be:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • diarrhea
  • chest tightness
  • breathing difficulty
  • swelling of throat and tongue, with difficulty swallowing.

These symptoms of fire ant bite are the first signs of anaphylactic shock and medical attention should be sort immediately as drops in blood pressure, unconsciousness and cardiac arrest may occur.

how to treat fire ant bitesHow to Treat Fire Ant Bites

1) Soap and water

soapIf you are wondering what to put on a fire ant bite when you are bitten, then the first thing to do is to clean with soap and water. Treat the affected area as soon as possible.

For all fire ant bite treatments, you must avoid infection and try to keep the fire ant blisters that form clean until healed. When you are applying anti-inflammatory fire ant remedies, you don’t want the remedies mixed up with dirt and bacteria.

The soap will help neutralize the alkaline venom and provide a sterile environment to allow the treatment to work.

2) Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegarWhen the bite area is clean, you need to neutralize the venom. Most biting ants will inject venom via their mandibles and the venom they inject is formic acid.

Fire ants venom, however, is delivered via their stinger on their abdomen similar to a wasp sting, and the venom that is delivered is alkaline.

You should not use alkaline based home remedies for fire ant bites.

If you want to know how to treat fire ant bites, then the answer is ACID. Apple cider vinegar is just the trick and is an excellent fire ant bite treatment.

Apple cider vinegar reduces itching and pain caused by fire ant stings. The acid in the vinegar neutralizes the venom. The anti-bacterial properties of apple cider vinegar prevent infection. If apple cider vinegar is unavailable, any vinegar will work.

This is probably the best home remedy for fire ant bites as vinegar contains acetic acid and is fast acting.

Apply apple cider vinegar on the affected areas. Leave it for some time.

3) Lemon Juice

lemon juiceLemon juice reduces irritation and pain caused by fire ant bites. As the lemon juice contains citric acid, the acid neutralizes the fire ant bite poison which is alkaline in nature.

Take fresh lemon juice and apply it on the affected areas. Wash off after it dries.4Use limes or even orange juice if you have no lemons.

4) Raw Potato

potatoRaw potato is effective in reducing itching and inflammation [7] and is a great fire ant bite treatment.

It also reduces swelling caused by fire ant stinging as it is mildly acidic (PH= 5-6)

Cut a thin slice of raw potato. Place it on the infected area.

5) Plantain Leaves Extract

plantainPlantain contains mucus and hence has soothing properties [8]. Plantain also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which cure inflammation.

Plantain leaves extract relieves itching. It works both internally and externally. The acidity of plantain will also neutralize the venom.

Extract juice from plantain leaves. Apply the extract on the affected area. Repeat till fire ant bite blister subside.

You can also chew plantain leaf for relief.

6) Fruit And Vegetable Juices

fruit juiceJuices of fruits and vegetables soothe itching and reduce swelling caused by the stinging of fire ants.

The mild acid in the fruit helps to neutralize the venom. Grape,  grapefruit and pineapple juice are particularly acidic, but even tomato juice will work.

Apply the juice on the bitten area and wash off after it dries.

7) Onion

onionOnion has many health benefits. It aids in treating various skin conditions. Quercetin in onion possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties [6] that aid in curing itching and swelling.

Onion is also an immune booster but it is the sulfenic acid in the onion (which converts to sulphuric acid when it comes in contact with your eyes) which will neutralize the alkaline venom with great effect.

Rub a slice of onion on the affected part, spreading the juice liberally. Leave it for about 30 minutes.

8) Cucumber

cucumberCucumber has a cooling effect on the skin. It cures irritation and swelling [9]. Being an anti-inflammatory, cucumber cures inflammation. It also relieves pain as it is mildly acidic.

Extract juice from cucumber and apply it on the skin.

9) Raw Honey

honeyHoney possesses antibacterial activity [3] and moisturizing properties which aid in soothing the skin. Raw honey reduces swelling and itching caused by free ant bites.

It also quickens the healing process. Honey is surprisingly acidic (ph=3) and the acidity is one of the reasons why it is anti-bacterial as germs cannot survive at that ph level.

Apply raw honey to the affected skin. Rinse off after 30 minutes in cold water. Repeat if necessary. The best honey to use for fire ant bites is manuka honey as this honey has the lowest PH.

10) Aspirin

aspirinExternal use of aspirin helps to relieve pain and inflammation caused by fire ant stings.

The ph of aspirin when in solution is quite low at 2-3 so it is as acidic as vinegar. Aspirin applied topically will also give mild pain relief as it is analgesic.

Crush some aspirin and add a few drops of water to it. Mix well to make a thin paste. Apply it to the bitten areas. Leave it overnight. Wash with water in the morning.

How to treat fire ant bite swelling

11) Ice Pack

cold compressTo combat fire with ice is pretty obvious. Ice pack relieves you from itching, pain and swelling and feels so soothing when applied. It will help prevent the fire ant bite blisters from rupturing.

Wrap ice cubes in a towel and apply it on the affected area for 10 minutes and repeat as necessary.

12) Basil

basilApplying basil paste is effective in reducing irritation caused by insect bites [4]. Camphor, a compound in basil, is effective in cooling the affected area.

Add some basil leaves to two cups of boiling water and simmer it for few minutes.

Turn off the heat and allow the water to come to room temperature. Filter the basil extract. With a clean cotton cloth apply the extract on the areas of fire ant bites. Repeat it till symptoms improve.

13) Aloe Vera

aloe veraSince aloe vera possesses anti-inflammatory properties [5], it aids in soothing the skin and relieving pain and swelling. Aloe vera gel will also help prevent scarring. It is a fantastic fire ant bite treatment.

Extract gel from aloe vera and apply on the bitten area. Let it dry. Repeat when necessary.

14) Tea Tree Oil

tea tree oilTea tree oil possesses anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties [10] that aid in relieving itching and swelling.

Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a cotton ball. Apply it on the site of stings.

15) Milk paste

milkMilk paste relieves itching. Enzymes in milk powder help to break down a protein in the venom. Milk is also mildly acidic lowering the ph of the venom.

Mix milk powder and water. Add a pinch of salt and make a thick paste. Apply it on the bites.

16) Olive Oil

olive oilOlive oil is effective in treating symptoms associated with fire ant bites.

Take a few drops of cold-pressed olive oil. Apply it on the affected site and massage gently. Repeat it till you find relief.

Olive oil can also be taken internally to boost immunity.

17) Eucalyptus Oil

eucalyptus oilEucalyptol in eucalyptus oil possesses potent antimicrobial properties [11]. It relieves itching caused by stinging.

Pour a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a glass of hot water. Apply it in the affected site. Repeat till itching is reduced.

18) Peppermint Oil

peppermint oilPeppermint oil soothes the skin and relieves itching [12].

Dilute peppermint oil in a mild carrier oil such as olive oil and apply directly to the affected sites.

19) Tea bags

tea bagThe anti-inflammatory properties of tea bags [13] relieve itching and swelling caused by fire ant stings. Tea bags also possess powerful antioxidant properties.

Add 3 to 4 tea bags in hot water and steep for a few minutes. Apply the tea bags on the affected site after the bags cool.

20) Toothpaste

toothpastePeppermint or methanol in toothpaste provides a cooling effect, which comes as a great relief to those affected by fire ant bites. It reduces itching and swelling and sooth the fire ant bite blisters.

Apply some toothpaste on the areas of fire ant bites.

21) Calamine

calamine lotionCalamine cures inflammation. It has antiseptic properties [14] and cooling effect. It soothes the skin and cures itching and pain. It will sooth the fire ant bite blisters.

Apply calamine on the affected area till itching and pain subside.

22) Activated Charcoal

charcoalActivated charcoal is an amazing remedy for fire ant stings. It absorbs poison and reduces swelling [15]. Hence immediate application of activated charcoal quickens the healing process.

Dampen a cloth and add activated charcoal to it. Press it on the affected area. Let it remain for 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary.

23) Clay

clayClay possesses antibacterial and antimicrobial properties [16]. It has a soothing effect on skin, which aids in relieving itching and pain. It extracts toxins from the body which makes it a great fire ant bite remedy.

Add some water to clay and mix well to make a paste. Apply the paste on the affected areas.

24) Cornstarch

corn starchCornstarch soothes irritation and relieves itching.

Make a thick paste using cornstarch and water. Apply it on the site of bites. You can also add apple cider vinegar to cornstarch and apply. Cover with bandage. Wash off after few hours.

25) Witch Hazel

witch hazelTannins in witch hazel is an astringent and aids in soothing infection [17]. Witch hazel is also anti-inflammatory thus aiding in reducing itching, pain, and swelling.

Apply witch hazel to the affected area. Wash off after few minutes. Repeat if necessary.

26) Oatmeal

oatmealOatmeal is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory [18]. Oatmeal moisturizes the skin and relieves itching and inflammation.

Add oatmeal to lukewarm water in your bathtub. Soak for half an hour. Repeat till you are relieved of itching.

Do and don’ts of fire ant bites

  • Act before they multiply. Use our natural remedies to get rid of ants.
  • Never go barefooted. Wear boots. You can also tuck your pants into your socks so that your legs are fully covered.
  • Know fire ant nests and stay away from them.
  • Keep pets away from nest sites
  • Never scratch fire ant blisters as they will infect and scar.
  • Seek medical attention if there are any severe symptoms from the ant bites as anaphylactic shock can kill.
  • Do not use alkaline based treatments that are recommended to neutralize generic ant bites. Most ants’ venom is formic acid. Fire ant venom is not an acid, but an ALKALINE and you must use mild acids in fruit and vinegar etc to neutralize it.


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