Do Carpenter Ants Bite Humans?

do carpenter ants bite humans?

There are several ant species that you may encounter in your home, including the common carpenter ant. If you see one of these ants in your home, then you probably want to know as much as you can about this species, including whether they’re likely to bite you and your family.

To make sure that you can deal with these ants effectively, it’s a good idea to learn a little more about their behavior, including the circumstances in which they are likely to bite. Here are some facts to help you learn if they do, in fact, bite humans, and advice for evicting these creatures from your house. 

Do Carpenter Ants Bite Humans?


Image via Flickr by sanchom

Carpenter ants, like most ant species, will bite humans under certain circumstances. Learning about a few of the main situations where a carpenter ant will bite can help make your interactions with these insects much safer.

The primary reason that a carpenter ant will bite is because the ant feels threatened. When acting in self-defense, carpenter ants can bite creatures both large and small, including humans, pets such as cats and dogs, and other insects. If you try to squash a carpenter ant and miss, or if you’re trying to pick up the ant, then you may suffer a bite.

Carpenter ants will also bite if they sense that their nest is in danger. This can be a much more serious situation than a carpenter ant acting in self-defense, as multiple ants may attack in order to protect their nest. If you have found a carpenter ant nest in your home, you should be very careful when attempting to remove the nest, as you will be at a high risk for receiving a bite. 

Do Carpenter Ant Bites Hurt?

If you’ve never been bitten by a carpenter ant, it’s important to learn a little about what these bites feel like. Knowing what you can expect from a carpenter ant bite can help you grasp why it’s important to be cautious when interacting with these insects.

When you’re bitten by a carpenter ant, you can expect a good amount of pain. Their mandibles are very strong, and a normal bite will feel like you’ve been pinched very hard. In many cases, the bite will also result in a sensation of burning. Carpenter ant bites frequently break the skin, which means you could see a small amount of blood after suffering a bite. 

Carpenter Ant Bite Appearance

In some cases, you may suffer a carpenter ant bite without actually seeing the ant, which is why it’s smart to get a basic idea of what these bites look like. By learning about some of the symptoms of a carpenter ant bite, you’ll be able to decide if you have these ants in your home.

Some carpenter ants can be as much as an inch long, and if you’re bitten by an ant of this size, the bite mark can be as big as a pea. As with most insect bites, the area where you have been bitten will turn red, and the skin may be raised. After the initial pain wears off, it’s likely that the bite will itch until it has fully healed. 

Carpenter Ants and Venom

Now that you know that carpenter ants bite, it’s likely you still have a few questions, including whether or not these ants are venomous. While carpenter ants don’t use venom, they do spray a substance known as formic acid when they bite.

While formic acid does increase the pain level associated with the carpenter ant’s bite, this substance generally isn’t dangerous for humans. The exception is if the pain fails to subside or if there is an unusual amount of swelling. This may indicate that you’re experiencing an allergic reaction that should be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible. 

Treating Bites

After you’ve been bitten by a carpenter ant, it’s important that you act as quickly as possible. Taking the proper precautions should reduce your pain and possibly help you heal much more quickly.

Directly after a bite, you should wash the bite with antibiotic soap and water. This will rinse away the formic acid and hopefully reduce the pain associated with the bite. After cleaning, you should check the area to see if the bite broke the skin. If so, you should apply a bandage.

If you’re feeling a burning sensation after being bitten and the discomfort becomes too much, you can either apply ice directly to the bite or make a cold compress. Applying the compress or ice for about ten minutes should provide you with relief.

For people with sensitive skin, it may be necessary to use a topical cream to stop the symptoms of a carpenter ant bite. However, if the affected area isn’t feeling any better after a couple of days, you should consult a doctor, as there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. 

Preventing Bites

Preventing most carpenter bites is a simple matter of avoiding ant nests. However, this can be difficult if carpenter ants have set up a colony in your home. If you want to completely eliminate your risk of being bitten, then you need to destroy the nest and remove the carpenter ants from your house.

Most people choose to use an ant trap to get rid of carpenter ants. With this solution, you would locate the ant trails then place the traps near the trails multiple times a day. Hopefully, the worker ants will take the poison in the traps back to the nest so that it will eventually affect the entire colony.

If using traps isn’t effective, then you will need to attack the colony directly. This can be much more difficult, as carpenter ant colonies can be hard to find, and if you don’t make sure to kill the queen, you won’t be able to completely stop your ant problem. 

Carpenter ants, as you now know, will bite humans, and their bites can be very painful and sometimes dangerous. If you notice carpenter ants in your home and want to avoid being bit, then you should get help from an expert. With the right guidance, you should be able to keep your home and body from being harmed by these pests.


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