Living With Fire Ant Venom

fire ant stings

Pustules 3 days after multiple fire ant stings.
Photo: USDA/ARS, Daniel Wojcik

Venoms of ants in the genus Solenopsis have unusual components not found in venoms of other stinging Hymenoptera. Most Hymenoptera venoms contain proteins that are responsible for the painful sting. The venom of the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta, contains some protein components but the major components are piperidine alkaloids known as Solenopsins. Solenopsins are the components of the venom responsible for pain. They are also responsible for the pustule that form on the skin after a sting. The Solenopsins are not responsible for the allergic reaction that some have to fire ant stings. Allergic reactions are triggered by some of the proteins in the venom.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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One Response to Living With Fire Ant Venom

  1. Thanks for the interest in this stingy topic!
    There is an applied overview on the fire ants venom composition given in the book chapter below and included references:

    Fox, E.G.P. Venom toxins of fire ants. In Venom genomics and proteomics; Gopalakrishnakone, P., Calvete, J.J.,Eds.; Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 2014; pp. 1–16.

    It can be freely obtained from my online repository profiles (ResearchGate, Academia, etc).

    Cheers!

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