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Ants CAN Kill! - Printable Version

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Ants CAN Kill! - forwardone - 02-22-2007 05:10 PM

It seems there are certain ants which can kill...

[Image: 060702_gma_fireant2_sp.jpg]

Quote:Beware of the Bugs: Fire Ants Can Kill Americans
A South Carolina Woman Died After Being Stung by Fire Ants

In about five percent of cases, fire ants can actually cause death.

July 2, 2006 — Last week, Janet Wallace Roedl Shiansky, a 68-year-old South Carolina woman, went into anaphylactic shock and died after being attacked by ants while she was gardening. The ants that attacked her are called fire ants and are the most aggressive ants in the world — and they are spreading to other parts of the country.

Entomologist Mike Raupp said that when fire ants attack they usually cause minor red welts and a pustule that will fade in a couple days. In about five percent of cases, fire ants can actually cause death.

"In those cases, where people have a volatile reaction, some of them actually do die," said Raupp. "It's a severe allergic reaction — throats swell up and people literally suffocate. But that is very rare. Most people won't react that way."

Shiansky died after several ants ran up her sneaker last weekend and stung her foot. Her husband brushed them off and treated the stings with ammonia, according to the Associated Press. A few minutes later, he went inside to check on her and found her lying on a bed unresponsive with her sunglasses still on. At the hospital, doctors found that her brain had begun to swell. She died the next day from what doctors said was an allergic reaction that caused her airways to close.

Dangerous Ants

Fire ants, which often attack and kill small animals like kittens, are primarily found in the Southeast, Raupp said. Their range extends from North Carolina across Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas — and there is also a colony in California.

"You might find some in other parts of the country — but there aren't large concentrations in the North," Raupp said. "If you see them in the northern states it's largely due to landscaping transplants. The fire ants are transported on plants that are taken from the South and planted in the North. … But most fire ant stings happen to people in the southern states."

Fire ants have become such a problem in the Southeast that phorid flies have been imported to combat them. The flies lay larvae on the ants. When the larvae hatch they eat the fire ants' heads.


RE: Ants CAN Kill! - dex - 02-23-2007 04:00 PM

There`s another ant which can give a very fierce bite when provoked - the Bullet Ant.


Quote:Paraponera clavata
Bullet Ant

The bullet ant gets its name from its painful sting, which is intense and lingering, like a gunshot wound. The name comes from the translation of the Spanish “hormiga bala” (ant bullet). Regionally the ant is known by many other names, all alluding to the exquisite pain that the insect causes (said by some to be the worst pain caused by an insect sting). The venom is neurotoxic, blocking central nervous system transmission in arthropods and producing extreme pain in mammals. Bullet ants are not aggressive except when defending themselves or their colony. These large ants belong to the primitive, ant subfamily Ponerinae. The genus Paraponera is unique and contains only one living species: Paraponera clavata. Bullet ants nest in underground colonies containing many tunnels and chambers. Rooms at the ends of tunnels are used as brood chambers. A single queen controls the colony, which may number only a few thousand at most. Nests are found at the bases of trees and sometimes up in the tree itself. Bullet ant workers are solitary hunters, returning to the nest with captured insects. They forage mainly in the canopy and understory, active from dusk ‘til dawn. Paraponera clavata is fond of “honeydew” and collects this sweet liquid from several ant plants (they also gather water). All food and drink is carried back to the colony and shared with other ants inside the nest. Prey items are cut up and fed to the larvae and liquids are given to them as small droplets. Plants are chewed to bits and used to make pupal chambers for the larvae when they are ready to spin cocoons.