Which Ants Have Stingers?

Several types of ants can cause a painful sting. However, there are only a few species of ants that produce a systemic reaction.

Stinging ants belong to the insect order Hymenoptera, which includes wasps, bees, and other insects. Most ants are not large enough to bite humans effectively.

When a stinging ant bites you, the stinger is located on the caudal-most part of the ant body. The venom is injected into the skin. The venom has a burning effect. It is important for stinging prey.

The stinger is usually removed by the ant after the first sting. However, there are some species of ants that have pseudostingers, which are hardened genitalia that cannot release venom.

A number of ant species are highly aggressive, stinging multiple times. Some species also attack larger opponents. If you are bitten by an ant, it is important to seek medical attention. A severe systemic reaction to ant venom can cause angioedema, chest pain, hoarseness, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain.

A serious systemic reaction to ant venom should be evaluated for mast cell disorders. In addition, a baseline tryptase level should be obtained.

Ant venom is an important part of the Hymenoptera insect order. There are roughly 12,000 species of ants in the world. In North America, there are about 1,000 species. Some of these species, such as harvester ants, are known to cause allergic reactions. Some ants also use formic acid or toxic acid to spray under the skin.