Ants can risk the lives of predators as they do not leave without biting or stinging when they feel threatened. It is a quick response by these insects for self-defense.
Why Do Ants Bite? Ants can bite their predators and prey for defensive and food purposes and even communicate with their fellows through this behavior. Moreover, they remove debris and transfer larvae and eggs by biting and maintaining a grip on them using mandibles. Fire ants are mostly known for stinging behavior, while carpenter ants, sugar ants, and crazy ants bite.
It is better to be careful of these insects to avoid the risk of painful blisters and red spots on the skin because their mandibles are coated with fine zinc particles, making them sharp.
What makes ants bite?
Ants commonly use their mandibles and legs to perform defensive activities in their lives that can help them survive in a better way.
Most commonly, ants use their mandibles to bite predators when they feel threatened in their surroundings and react in this way.
The foragers have to face challenges for survival because they have to leave their nests and sometimes enter into other species’ territory.
Moreover, the larger insects and some animals can move close to their trails to eat them, so they collectively sting or pierce their skin with their jaws for defensive purposes.
Continuous biting can lead to the death of predators as they inject acidic material into their bodies that can cause severe reactions and injuries when the skin layer gets removed.
Carry larvae and eggs
The nursing ants perform tasks different from foragers and care for larvae, eggs, and queens. The eggs are usually present close to the queen as they need to be fertilized by her.
However, these workers shift mature pupae to a different chamber and hang them to the walls to feed them from mouth to mouth after regurgitation.
Accordingly, they prefer to use their mandibles to maintain a grip on the bodies of larvae while shifting them to a different location within the nest.
Furthermore, this behavior can help them carry nest members while relocating their nests to a different site. However, the immature members cannot walk on their own during colony migration.
Communicate with fellows
It can be a method of communication among nest mates as they usually release certain chemicals from their bodies to talk and transfer particular messages.
They can produce a variety of chemicals in different situations that can help these insects know the type of message from their fellows.
Accordingly, the preceding insect in the trail can rub and bite the body of the following insect to inform about the changes in foraging plants if there is danger in front of them.
It can help them reach their destination safely because all of them remain connected to each other, avoiding the risk of getting lost and miscommunication.
They do not rely only on visuals and noise but use chemical cues to add another layer of safety to ensure survival. Their improved strategies make them older species on Earth.
Capture and kill prey
The mandibles play a significant role in getting food that can be a grain of sugar or wheat and other insects like a spider, caterpillars, termites, frogs, etc.
They attack smaller insects like them and even the larger ones, and animals can become their prey as they kill brutally.
Some foragers capture the prey by maintaining a grip on their legs using their mandibles while the remaining climb their bodies.
After that, the climbers bite on their skin and pierce through their skin layer, causing serious injuries. It results in severe pain and destruction of the prey’s body leading to their death.
Accordingly, they can enjoy nutrients and blood from the dead body. They prefer to break their body into different parts by chewing with their teeth and dragging the body parts to the nest.
Remove debris from the nest
They collect a variety of foods, including seeds, sweet fruits, and dead bodies of insects, in their nests and fill their chamber to prepare for the winter season.
The stored food begins to decay after some time and allows bacterial growth. It can lead to infection in the colony and put their survival at risk.
Accordingly, they have to keep chambers clean by removing the particles loaded with fungus and other germs. They use mandibles to remove the particles from the nest and throw them away.
What happens when an ant bites?
Ants have mandibular teeth that are extended outward from their mouth and help them fight with their predators and communicate with their nest mates.
They usually pinch the skin by using their two mandibular teeth and pull the skin tissues outward. It leads to exposure of internal flesh and muscles and feels like burning.
Sometimes, they do not bite intentionally to kill their prey, as it can be their sudden reaction when they feel the threat. It can cause an allergic reaction due to the toxic nature of formic acid.
Moreover, you can feel a redness, mild swelling, and a burning sensation in the affected area.
The preying insects feel helpless when these tiny creatures put mandibles in their skin many times, intending to kill them.
You cannot find them biting every time as it depends on the situation making them do so, but every single insect can do it multiple times without dying.
How to prevent ants from biting?
It is better to prevent ants from biting to avoid the risk of painful skin bumps that can last a few days and lead to a burning sensation for some hours.
Moreover, it becomes essential to avoid entering these insects into the pet cage as their deadly stings and bites can lead to their death.
You can keep them at a distance by keeping the cages and indoor areas of the house clean, as they usually get attracted to dirty places where they can find a food source and warmth.
In addition, keep yourself covered when going to outdoor areas because you never know that these insects have created their mounds in the garden or living underground.
Lesser contact of exposed skin to these crawling insects can ensure your safety. In the same way, you can use some natural insect repellents or body odors that seem unpleasant to them.
Furthermore, it is essential to know about the symptoms of infestations and deal with them before the situation becomes complicated and it becomes difficult to control them.
What type of ants prefers to bite?
Every ant species has a different strategy for fighting, depending on its physiological characteristics. For example, some are good at biting due to long, sharp mandibles, and a few lack teeth.
In addition, some can efficiently sting as they have deadly acid in their poison gland and long stingers to inject poison into the prey or predator’s body.
The red harvester and fire ants are known for their stinging behavior as they have poisonous chemicals to inject, while carpenter and sugar ants use mandibles to kill their prey.
Furthermore, some of them are entirely harmless because they do not sting and are responsible for painless bites like argentine ants.