Can You Become Immune to Fire Ants?

Whether you’re a homeowner or a farmer, you probably know fire ants are a pest that’s becoming more common in the United States. They are aggressive, territorial pests that sting. Their venom can cause serious allergic reactions. They are especially dangerous to children. The venom can cause anaphylactic shock, which can lead to cardiac arrest. If you’re allergic to fire ants, you should contact a doctor right away.

Fire ants are native to South America. They are considered an invasive pest in the United States. They build mounds in the ground, usually in dirt. They can be treated with insecticides. But they don’t normally attack humans. Their venom is 95% non-water-soluble, meaning it won’t break down in water.

Fire ants can cause severe allergic reactions, but these are not common. Most people recover from a single sting, but if they get stung again, they’ll experience a worse reaction.

In a new study, scientists looked at the immune systems of lizards that lived in areas with fire ants. They found a variety of immune measures in these animals. Some were normal, while others were indicative of stress from the fire ants.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation. The researchers noticed that eastern fence lizards, which are native to the eastern US, had a different immune profile than lizards living in areas without fire ants. These lizards were stung by fire ants three times per week.

Mingus, the study’s subject, was also stung by fire ants. He was administered monthly shots of purified ant venom extract. Over time, he was able to build up his immune system’s tolerance to fire ant venom.