Many people get confused between green-head and green ants, but the latter are weaver ants with bright green-colored gasters.
Are Green-Head Ants Poisonous? Green-head ants are poisonous, as their stingers can inject toxic fluids into prey animals while fighting for defense. It can lead to itching, allergic reactions, or anaphylactic shocks, and a painful sensation remains for almost 10 minutes to several hours. You can get rid of these scavenging pests by disturbing their underground nests.
These ants are known to be dangerous creatures despite their unique and attractive appearance.
They are named metallic pony ants for their metallic green bodies, which sometimes appear reddish-violet or purple.
Why are green-head ants poisonous?
Rhytidoponera metallica or green-head ants are 4 to 7mm long and known for their distinctive appearance as their bodies appear metallic green and purple.
All of their colony members look alike but have different body lengths. They are poisonous insects as their poison gland is filled with a toxic substance or formic acid.
They are known to cause potential harm to humans and even animals by stinging their bodies.
This stinging behavior is accompanied by injecting formic acid into the prey’s body by puncturing the skin with a stinger.
You have to be careful of these dangerous insects if their mounds are present in the lawns because it can lead to a painful sensation that lasts for several minutes.
It is better to stay away and restrict entries to the garden and ask help from exterminators to get rid of their nests. Avoid visits to lawns until the exterminators remove their nests.
Moreover, despite their deadly stings, it also provides some benefits to humans, as it kills agricultural pests by preying on them. It can kill wood-borer termites, beetles, and moths.
The smaller insects and invertebrates cannot resist their venomous stings and deadly bites, which are followed by an injection of toxic formic acid into prey bodies.
However, their poisonous stings mask these advantages and make people find ways to remove their colonies from their houses to avoid the risk of being a victim.
What happens when a green-head ant stings?
The green-head ant can bite and sting, but their mandibles are smaller, so their bites remain unnoticeable as they cannot cause deep wounds or injuries.
However, their stings are venomous because they transfer venom from the abdomen to the stinger, which is passed on to the punctured body of prey.
You can feel severe pain in the affected area after a few seconds of entry of venom. This pain can be difficult to tolerate and feels like a sharp burning sensation.
It can initiate some allergic reactions when the body begins to respond against the foreign particles of venom. It starts with mild pain that can get severe in seconds or minutes.
Local redness commonly occurs when this green ant stings, which takes time to disappear. The affected area swells, and itching can also occur at the sting site.
It can cause annoying pain, rashes, and swelling of the tongue. An ice pack can help reduce pain severity and allow the sting site to recover from swelling and redness symptoms.
Anaphylactic shocks are also observed in some sensitive people that can be life-threatening without adequate treatment, but no death cases are reported.
These shocks develop within a few minutes when the allergens enter the body, but sometimes, the bodies react after a few hours.
Furthermore, the extent of pain and the severity of symptoms can vary slightly when different subspecies of the green-head ants sting.
How long does a green-head ant sting last?
Green-head stings are poisonous, leading to severe symptoms, including local redness and rashes or swelling in affected zones.
The painful sensations can arise after 10 to 15 seconds when the venom becomes part of the bloodstream and persists for around 10 minutes to several hours.
The severe symptoms can take almost a day to disappear completely as rashes or swelling take more time, but the severity of pain reduces over time.
It is better to take care of your skin and get some commercial sprays to deal with insect stings, but you can ask a professional before using any product on the swollen area.
Furthermore, you need to consult a physician if the symptoms do not disappear after a few hours or a day, as some proper medications can help you recover.
What do green-head ants eat?
Green-head ants are daytime foragers and remain active throughout the day as they have to look for potential food sources and bring food back to their nests.
They feed on various food sources as they are seed-eaters and consume seeds to get an adequate concentration of proteins and oils.
Moreover, they can also attack smaller insects and arthropods, either living or dead, because they are good scavengers and devour their bodies with tiny mandibles.
They consume sweet secretions excreted by sap-sucking insects, like aphids and scale insects, when they need a carbohydrate-rich diet to get instant energy.
These seed-eaters are involved in dispersing seeds as they carry them in their mouth, eat the nutritious portion, and throw the remaining seed on the ground.
This way, it scatters seeds on the ground that can develop into the mature plant after getting proper moisture and temperature.
Furthermore, these green ants are good predators and scavenging insects with broad food options, making them more resistant to changing environments as they can switch dietary habits.
Where are green-head ants commonly found?
Some wild species of green-head ants are commonly found in deserts, woodlands, and forests as they prefer to live in soil and build deep underground nests.
In addition, a few species invade urban areas and get inside buildings when they find suitable nesting spots in the lawns, like rotting wooden logs, larger stones, and plant twigs.
These wooden logs and stones provide them with hidden spots, but they do not live above the ground and dig deeper into the soil under these objects to make tunnels.
In the same way, these green insects are also observed to live within termite mounds and underground below shrubs.
Furthermore, these insects are seen to be present in some states of the US and New Zealand but are widespread in Australia and are commonly found in Queensland and Kimberly regions.
How do you get rid of green-head ants?
Green-head ants need to be controlled as their growing colonies can put your children and pets at risk of bites when they reach the garden for playing.
These insects usually build underground nests within the soil and spend their lives within the tunnels. They do not like to crawl on the ground without any purpose and stay inside nests.
Accordingly, you can destroy their nests by using any object or flooding that creates stress among them. They are supposed to leave the location when they do not find a hiding spot.
Ant control sprays can be an excellent solution to deal with these poisonous creatures that can be prepared at home. Commercial sprays are also available with varying effectiveness for ants specie.
In addition, some granular baits are suitable to use that can help wipe out their population from lawns because they get attracted to sweet food items.
These granular baits can kill the foraging insects within 48 to 72 hours, and the colony dies within a few weeks because it depends on the transfer rate of food down to the colony.
Furthermore, you can also seek help from professional controllers that can efficiently deal with the infestation of green-head ants by treating their mounds with a chemical solution.