Has It Ever Occurred To You That Ants Bring Diseases?
Ants! They are always seen in and around your homes, schools, offices, gardens, picnic spots and what not! Have you ever thought about the diseases it can cause? Most of us won’t give it a thought as ants are often considered harmless creatures. But, the truth is that ants have the capacity to spread diseases and could bring destruction to your premises. It is always better to get rid of ant infestations in and around your place. If you leave it as it is, then the infestation will grow, and you will find it much difficult to get rid of them. They would have built large colonies inside your building walls by then. If you try getting rid of them by spraying on them individually with ant pesticides, it never works that way! It may not be effective and won’t solve the root cause of the problem. You will end up killing fewer ants and poisoning the surrounding environment more!
The Ants That Spread Disease
Here are some of the ants that spread diseases and cause health issues in and around where they live:
- The Ghost Ants!
The name might seem to be a peculiar one, and the ghost ants get its name due to its small body, pale abdomen and legs. They can often be seen in the bathrooms, floors, filthy counters, and in the kitchen. These ants are disease carriers and they often transfer diseases. They can spread diseases in places they visit. It is very difficult to get rid of them as they are very adaptable to exist in multiple conditions. They have not one, but many nesting sites. They also have many queens. The queens and nesting areas will be distributed both inside and outside your home.
- The Crazy Ants
These ants are called crazy because of their rapid and erratic way of movement. They can be very dangerous as they can be very destructive in nature. They are invasive ants who keeps chewing on the insulation wires and will build their nests inside your electric units. This can cause short circuits and accidents due to an outbreak of fire. The fire hazard chances can be aggravated when the ants that get electrocuted inside the electric box. They will start releasing certain pheromones which will lure more ants into the electric box. Thus, they will build bigger nests inside it. These ants are also very difficult to get rid of as they can be immune to almost all the chemicals.
- The Pharaoh Ants
These ants can be a real pain in the neck and are said to be the most difficult ones to get rid of. If they are threatened, they can easily move from multiple numbers of colonies and also have many queen ants all around your premises. These ants transmit many diseases like Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Salmonella. If these ants enter inside hospital premises, they can contaminate the sterile surgery equipments. Newborn babies or people recovering from surgeries and burns can all get infected easily. These ants often search for moisture and have been observed near the mouth of babies in deep slumber or in IV bottles.
Can Ants Spread Disease? All Your Doubts Explained!
Ants are said to be carriers of various harmful diseases. Researches have proved that you have to be extra cautious if you see ants in and around the houses of people who have breathing issues. Many types of insects like cockroaches and ants are said to cause many respiratory issues. The pharaoh ant is also one of the suspects causing diseases. It is small in size and is yellow. It originates from the tropical areas and can be found almost everywhere nowadays. The ants need warmth and prefer living indoors than outdoors. The pharaoh ants always nest in secluded areas where the temperature ranges between eighty to eighty-six Fahrenheit degrees. They invade houses often and can be found in the faucets of bathrooms or kitchen where they visit to get water.
How Ants Pick Up Diseases?
The ants can pick up various disease-causing bacteria by their legs and transfer it to any open food substance. Though they don’t often carry salmonella, there can be instances where the ant walks all over a dish filled with salmonella. In such cases, when the ant walks away from the dish, the salmonella sticks to its legs and gets carried wherever it goes. Though the ants do not sting or bite like other insects, they can carry disease-causing germs on their legs and transmit diseases all around the house. Some species of ants like the fire ants, carpenter ants, and the pharaoh ants are observed to bite people, but they don’t transmit diseases by biting.
Ants Are Considered As Pests!
Most of us are ignorant of the fact that ants are also considered as a pest as they cause contaminations in and around the areas they infest ,especially in hospitals. Many organisms that cause diseases like Shigella, E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus can be also seen on some ants. These organisms are usually found in faeces. When ants step on it and walk away, they carry diseases also along with them. The ants also carry disease-causing pathogens which can vary from bacterial to fungal ones. This is the reason why they are considered as pests in hospitals and restaurants. In some cases, ant bites can also cause allergies. Most of the invasive pests like fire ants and pharaoh ants carry pathogens.
Know More About Diseases Caused By Ants And The Inconvenient Stings
In addition to diseases, some species of ants can also cause discomforts due to sting. The most common type that causes sting discomforts are fire ants. People who are facing mobility issues are advised to avoid getting multiple stings from fire ants. These are luckily not found inside houses. They prefer to rest in areas exposed by sun rays. Hence, they can often be seen in gardens, yards and picnic spots. The fire ants set up large colonies in the form of big ant mounds in your garden. You can get rid of such mounds by opting for treatments available in the market. The fire ants do not cause many diseases, but the stings can cause discomforts.
Know About Ant Venom
A mixture of toxins and irritants inflicted by the ant bite is called ant venom. The ants may either inject or spray the venom. The major component of ant venom is formic acid. It belongs to the subfamily named Formicinae. Some of the major examples of ants that sting are fire ants(Solenopsis), bulldog ants (Myrmecia), Pachycondyla and the bullet ants (Paraponera). The venom of fire ants consists of protein and alkaloid components. The sting from the fire ant can cause a cutaneous condition and can be more painful than other ant bites.
Fire Ant Bite First Aid
In case you or your near one gets bitten by fire ants, you can do the following first aid procedures:
- External First Aid– For external treatment, you can opt for hydrocortisone, a steroid cream of topical nature. You can also opt for a cream with Aloe Vera contents.
- Oral First Aid– For oral treatment, you can try using antihistamines, calamine lotion or apply zinc oxide on the affected area.
Allergic Reactions To Stings
In some cases, ant stings can have allergic reactions. The reactions can be venomous in nature. The allergic reactions include chest pain, sweating, swellings, loss of breath, nausea, slurred speech, dizziness, fever, etc. The reactions, if severe can turn to be fatal. The reactions can vary between mild ones to severe shocks that are anaphylactic in nature. The Pachycondyla sennaarensis (black samsum ant) can cause serious allergic reactions.
In addition to the diseases caused by ants, people detest even thinking about ants crawling in and out of their homes and spoiling their food. Pesticide sprays can help, but there are some much easier methods than using harmful chemicals. Here are some easy preventive methods you can adopt to prevent ants from entering your home:
- Store food particles in airtight containers so that the ants won’t get lured to taste it.
- Clean up the kitchen slabs and dining tables. Never leave any food crumbs on the table or on the floors.
- Clean the soiled plates as soon as possible.
- Ants get attracted to moisture. Hence, always remove such sources like leaking taps, moist surfaces, etc.
- Follow the trail of ants and find the entrances to their nests. Then seal up those holes.
- Seal all the crevices and cracks on your wall.
- You can wipe away the ant trails with soap-filled water. This helps in erasing their trail odors that lures more ants to the place.
- Use traps for ants.
- Get some boric acid and dust it on the entrances of ant holes. You can also use diatomaceous earth. Remember to wear a face mask while using these products and always keep it away from the reach of small kids and pets.
Prevent Ants And Keep Yourself Free Of Diseases
You can easily prevent ants from entering your premises by maintaining cleanliness and eliminating ants as soon as you spot them in your house or around it. Remember to keep your garden and home clean and tidy. If you find it difficult to eradicate ant infestations by natural or chemical methods, you can get the help of a pest expert.