Allergic to ant stings

Hi there,

being bugged by bugs I started to wonder…
We live in Cairo at the moment and it seems ants are a common problem in the house as soon as it is getting warmer. The species has been identified as Trichomyrmex destructor.

In the current apartment we are living in we got it pretty much under control, no problem in the kitchen. But we have some ants in our bedroom… They seem to come from the ceiling, so maybe originating from the neighbour.

Anyways. As those tiny 2mm ants can be found in the bed from time to time, we end up getting bitten regularly. It’s not too bad at first, but turns out to get pretty itchy later. The picture shows one of my bites after 2 days. I never experienced allergic reactions like this with ant bites, so I was rather surprised.

Now I wonder: how common are allergic reactions to ants and how far can it go? Could it go as far as with wasps and bees? At least they are in the same order, so toxins might be related? Or how was it now with “Ameisensäure” (is it ant acid in English??!) Ah, I just realize I know to little about this topic…

What experiences did you make with ant bites or what do you know about that topic?

PS: I am not worrying, it’s just very interesting for me to learn something new each day ;)

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I’m an EMT (I work on an ambulance). People can have anaphylactic (life-threatening, systemic) reactions to ant stings (as well as almost anything else). They are common in the southern United States where there are fire ants. They generally happen immediately. Having a previous non-systemic reaction is a risk factor for future anaphylactic reactions (but certainly doesn’t always lead to them).

We do not (as far as I’ve been able to determine) have fire ants where I live (near New York), but I have been stung by unidentified, tiny ants and had an itchy, burning, bumpy reaction with bumps that lasted longer and itched more than mosquito bites, but went away in less than 2 weeks.


No, it’s not called antacid in English. (Antacid is the word for medicine to correct stomach acidity!) The acid of ants is called formic acid, from the Latin for ant. It is also sometimes called methanoic acid.

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I was allergic to the ants we had in our apartment in Dubai. Like your ants, our ants were tiny, about 2 mm long. No one else seemed to mind them. But when I got bitten by them, I would develop a rash and swelling like you. I learned to avoid places where they frequented. I haven’t had such reactions to ants in the US. Maybe my reaction was to this specific species. And it certainly was specific to me in my household.


Well, I find that interesting, too.

This is an idea I read decades ago in a novel. You are warned.

In this novel, when being invaded by ants, people put buckets under the footings, or legs, of the bed. They filled the buckets with water, hoping to drown the ants and keep them from climbing up in the beds.

Me? I would fill boxes with talcum powder or baking soda or ground cinnamon and place them under the bed legs. Most ants cannot move through a powder as it clogs up their sphericals so they cannot breathe.

If you have a platform bed, I’d try completely surrounding the footing with the fine powder of your choice.

We got wave after wave of invasions by argentine ants last summer, and I just kept laying out more and more powder around the room perimeters, windowsills, anywhere we thought they might be entering. I even resorted to using a straw to blow lots of powder around the dishwasher casing.

The powder did a decent job keeping them at bay. Although, there was vacuuming to be done in the wake of this treatment.


Veeery interesting! But not actually surprising once I think about it. Thanks for sharing

Yes, I read of this survival tactic as well… ;-)

I don´t think I will do anything about those ants… we move out in a few weeks and I am actually not bothered too much by the occacional ant. Would be pretty difficult anyways. We have a dog, so we have to be careful of what to put on the floor. But also the ants are coming from the ceiling, not the floor. It´s not like a whole ant trail… just single ants popping up. As long as it is not getting worse, I can live with it for a few more weeks.

But thanks so much for trying to come up with a solution!

I think once a big black ant bit me and I remembering it feeling really hot and when I would touch it, it would pinch. then after like 5 minutes of it I got dizzy and it went away. I havent really been bit much by wildlife

I hate/love ants their hard to observe but have amazing social networks they also always climb all over me.

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