Evansville, IN Warning: Rare Asian Needle Ant – One Venomous Sting Could Be Deadly
Most of the time, ants stay busy outside building their colonies, minding their own business, and doing whatever ants do. I didn't think that there was anything too terrifying about ants until they invaded our house. Now, we have stinging attack ants on the loose in Evansville, and this is the stuff of nightmares.
Ants Really are Nightmares
Several years ago, I lived in an apartment in Orlando, Florida. In that type of climate, you can expect bizzaro insects and little lizards to find their way into your house. One time, I came home to a line of ants marching (Literally) from my front door, to the kitchen pantry. That parade of ants found their way into my cereal, pasta, coffee, and basically everything in the kitchen. I'm seriously grossed out just writing about it.
Bobby took this pic in the men's restroom. I am truly terrified of bugs!
How Harmful are Asian Needle Ants?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the sting of the Asian needle ant is painful, kind of like a bee sting. The venom often affects different people in different ways. For instance, the sting can result in life-threatening anaphylaxis in some cases. I'm usually in the 1% of anything, so I will plan for the worst-case scenario. I just can't be taken out by an ant.
According to an interview with Timothy Gibb, an Entomologist at Purdue University in an article from The Indy Star, the Asian needle ants found their way to Indiana very recently.
While the ant has traveled southern states like Florida and Georgia for several years, it was discovered just last week in the Evansville area — the furthest north the Asian needle ant has ventured, Gibb said. It's the first ant in Indiana that has a stinger and venom sac, Gibb said. For many years, experts have assured Hoosiers there aren't any ants with stingers in the area, but that's not the case anymore. "Other ants will bite," he said, "but this is really new."
Needle Ants Want to Share Your Home
Regular ants find their way into your house, fire ants like to stay outside, but our venomous needle ants can nest pretty much anywhere. They like to eat termites, which I guess is a good thing. Unfortunately, my backyard is full of rotting wood, leaves, loose soil, oh, and yes I do believe that termites live among the mess too.
This species prefers to nest in moist, damp areas like the insides of rotting logs, leaf litter, beneath rocks, and in loose soil, but will also nest in man-made structures, like around sprinkler systems and inside pavement crevices.
If you are allergic to other insect bites or stings, it's a good idea to keep an EpiPen handy.
I've reached out to Timothy Gibb, an Entomologist at Purdue University for more information about this discovery in Evansville. This article will be updated with the information that he has to share. Stay Tuned!