Whether you’re dealing with tiny sugar ants or large, aggressive carpenter ants on your property, you may be wondering how these creatures could impact your health. While it’s true that ants don’t carry or spread “disease” in the same way as other pests (like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes), ants can transport several different food-borne illnesses, including some as serious as salmonella.
Let’s take a closer look at the impact an ant infestation can have on your health.
How Ants Cause Cross-Contamination
Carpenter ants, pavement ants, and sugar ants are all common throughout Connecticut. And unfortunately, all three species can find their way inside your home without much trouble. As with other insects, even if you see just one or two ants every day, you can be certain that there are hundreds more hiding somewhere within your home. Therefore, it’s important to begin treatment quickly; by the time your ants become a visible problem, the colony could have doubled or even tripled in size. This makes extermination significantly more difficult.
Once inside your home, ants will search for any source of food and water – including your toilet, trash can, and kitchen sink. Even if they’re regularly cleaned, these parts of your home can harbor potentially dangerous bacteria. These bacteria can be transmitted throughout your home as ants travel from place to place. For example, if an ant looks for water near your toilet and then moves to your bedside table, it can quickly contaminate the latter surface.
The only way to stop cross-contamination is to eradicate any ant infestations within your home.
How Ants Transport Food-Borne Illnesses
In addition to transporting the bacteria that are already inside your home, ants can bring with them any number of other food-borne diseases like Shigella, clostridium, salmonella, staph, strep, E. coli, and various fungi. If ants gain access to your food (whether in a pantry or even while you’re eating), they can transmit bacteria instantaneously.
Even if food is kept secure from ants, cross-contamination is always a risk. Children, the elderly, and anyone who is immunosuppressed have a greater chance of becoming ill from exposure to bacteria.
Ant Bites Can Cause Infections or Allergic Reactions
If you’ve ever been bitten or stung by an ant, you already know how disproportionately painful these injuries can be in relation to the creature’s tiny mandibles. This is because, like many other biting and stinging insects, ants deposit venom when they bite. For individuals who are already highly sensitive to ant venom, just one or two bites can be enough to cause some serious itching, burning, and swelling. And if this swelling is enough to break the skin, the bite victim could become vulnerable to skin infections like cellulitis.
Meanwhile, fire ant stings can cause a strong adverse reaction even in those who aren’t usually sensitive to ant venom. These stings quickly generate painful, itchy lesions that can break the skin. If an individual is bitten by multiple fire ants at once, they can even risk going into anaphylactic shock. While indoor fire ant infestations are fairly uncommon, anyone planning to go hiking or camping in a recreational area should be sure to pack a first-aid kit that includes sterile bandages and antihistamines.
Eliminate Ant Infestations with the Help of a Professional Pest Control Service
If you’re interested in getting rid of your carpenter, pavement, or sugar ants for good, Richland Pest and Bee Control can help. Our experienced technicians can quickly assess various entry points and treat your entire home to create an impenetrable barrier. Contact us today to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.