DO CARPENTER ANTS BITE?

6/2/2017

Do Carpenter Ants Bite?

If you’re worried about ants that bite, you may have good reason, depending on the species. Most people know that fire ants bite, but what about other kinds of ants? Can carpenter ants bite? Absolutely. Do carpenter ants bite humans? Sometimes, but it’s not as common as with fire ants. Here’s what you need to know about black carpenter ant bites.

Carpenter ant bite occurrence

For the most part, carpenter ants won’t just crawl up to people and bite them for no reason. They prefer to avoid human contact. They will only bite when they feel their nest is threatened. However, if isolated and trapped, the carpenter ant might take threats personally, and bite in self-defense.

How these ants bite

carpenter ants are known for their strong mandibles, which allow them to chew through wood (sometimes causing structural damage to your home). But these powerful jaws are also capable of breaking through human flesh, which feels like a sharp pinch.

Though these types of ants aren’t capable of stinging, carpenter ant bites can be equally painful due to the formic acid they sometimes spray into the wound. This acid causes a mild to intense burning sensation, depending on the amount that gets into the wound, combined with your body’s reaction to it. The burning sensation should stop in a few hours, but scratching the bite could prolong the burn, or even infect the wound.

Identifying carpenter ant bites

Bites from carpenter ants look similar to fire ant bites, except that they don’t have the white pustule head that accompanies a fire ant’s sting. Instead, a carpenter ant’s bite is just a small, raised red bump, as you can see in the carpenter ant bite picture in Fig. 1.

Other concerns

You may have heard of ‚Äüzombie carpenter ants” biting, but don’t worry. The fungus parasitism that takes place when the Ophiocordycep fungus overtakes a carpenter ant’s body only causes the ant to bite leaves, not humans. Even if an infected ant did bite you, nothing would happen.

Even so, carpenter ants can cause damage to homes and structures thanks to their nesting habits. They have a complex life cycle and are often confused with termites. If you see any winged ants or termites around your home, don’t risk carpenter ant bites or damage to your home. Call Terminix®.