Do Carpenter Ants Bite Humans? | Myths and Reality

Carpenter ants nest in woods, especially dead or damaged moist woods. That’s why they are usually found inside houses, lurking on wooden cracks and broken woods. Some people may be concerned about the presence of carpenter ants in the area. Are they a threat to humans and pets?

Do carpenter ants bite humans? Carpenter ants will bite humans. Their mandibles, strong enough to chew on woods can also deliver painful bites. With their bite they also inject acid, causing it to feel like you’re being stung. They will attack humans in self-defense as a means of protecting their colony and nest.

Carpenter ants chew on wood to build nests and tunnels. However, they don’t swallow the woods they chew. Just like other ants, carpenter ants feed on sugar and protein. They scavenge from dead animals or insects where they can get their source of sugar and protein. Additionally, they consume plant juices and liquids like nectars and honeydew. On the other hand, if they come across human food, particularly sweets, they will eagerly eat it.

Should we be concerned about them? What should we do if we are bitten by carpenter ants? In this article, we’ll go through all these topics, including why they bite, what a carpenter ant bite looks like, and much more.

Do Carpenter Ants Bite or Sting?

Do Carpenter Ants Bite or Sting

Like the majority of ant species, carpenter ants will bite people in specific situations. Furthermore, they spray a defensive chemical known as formic acid into the wound caused by them, causing it to sting.

Knowing some of the most typical circumstances in which a carpenter ant would bite will make your contact with them considerably safer.

Related: How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Without an Exterminator

Why Do Carpenter Ant Bite?

Carpenter ants aren’t particularly aggressive. They don’t normally initiate attacks. However, they bite to defend themselves if they are disturbed or feel threatened.

Carpenter ant workers will go into warrior mode if they are threatened by humans, other insects, or animals, or their nests are in danger. Thus, if you discover a carpenter ant nest in your house, remove it with utmost caution since you may be bitten.

What Does a Carpenter Ant Bite Look Like?

What Does a Carpenter Ant Bite Look Like

Carpenter ant bites are similar to irritating pimples on the skin and rashes. Bite wounds may grow, become inflammatory, and take up to a week to heal entirely for people with sensitive skin.

Carpenter ants have a strong mouth, and their bites can damage the skin, tearing it, and potentially leave scars.

What Does a Carpenter Ant’s Bite Feel Like?

Carpenter ant bites cause a severe pinching sensation on the skin. It can be painful since they have powerful mouths that can potentially tear skin and inflict serious wounds.

They have formic acid that they inject when they bite, giving you the impression of being stung and leaving you with a burning sensation. After the burning feeling has gone away, you will detect an itch on the bitten area. It will also itch while the wound heals.

Can Carpenter Ant Bites Make You Sick?

Carpenter ant bites can be painful, but they don’t contain any venom or poison that can make people sick. According to studies, there are few to no reports of a carpenter ant bite that cause serious injury to humans.

Therefore, after being bitten by a carpenter ant, the sting and burning sensation caused by its formic acid are usually mild and fade rapidly.

How Long Do Carpenter Ant Bites Last?

Carpenter ant bites are relatively minor, and most cases last only a few days to a few weeks. When you are bitten, the sting and burning feeling from the ant’s acid will only last a few hours, and the bite wound will heal in days to weeks.

Just like a regular skin wound, you will notice progress within days. Wounds can heal in a matter of days, depending on where the individual is wounded, but a week or two is the typical time frame.

Do Black Carpenter Ants Bite?

Do Black Carpenter Ants Bite

Black carpenter ants are the most common carpenter ants that we usually encounter. These black carpenter ants, like other ants, will bite in self-defense and to safeguard their colony. If they feel threatened, they will attack by biting.

Related: How to Get Rid of Black Ants: A Complete Guide

Do Flying Carpenter Ants Bite?

A flying ant is much less likely to bite. Carpenter ants with wings are sexually mature ants, ready to look for a queen, breed, and start a new colony. That’s how they multiply.

These winged ants are called Alates. Almost all type of ants have their winged ant from their colony. However, the developed wings will be discarded after the ants are done mating.

Related: How to Get Rid of Flying Ants: A Complete Guide

Do Carpenter Ants Bite Dogs?

Do Carpenter Ants Bite Dogs

As dogs can accidentally become a threat to carpenter ants, there is a risk that carpenter ants will attack dogs. Even though carpenter ants don’t initially attack, dogs can be very curious about anything.

If the ants are startled and feel threatened by the dog, they will attack and bite. The carpenter ant’s powerful mouth can potentially scrape a dog’s skin and can cause pain.

How Do You Treat a Carpenter Ant Bite?

You may treat a carpenter ant bite by doing the following:

  • Clean wounds with soap and water as soon as possible after being bitten by carpenter ants.
  • You can cover the wound with a bandage.
  • Apply ice packs to the wound if it is itching.
  • If you have sensitive skin and have been seriously bitten, you can apply calamine lotion or over-the-counter antibiotic creams or ointments to the affected area after applying a cold compress.
  • You don’t have to be concerned if your dog is bitten by carpenter ants due to the dog’s healing capacity. When a dog licks their wounds, it may immediately relieve the pain and acid that the ants inject when biting.

Related: Ant Bites: Identification, Treatment, Allergic Reactions & More

Are Carpenter Ant Bites Dangerous?

The majority of carpenter ant bites are only minor. It’s more than likely that no ointment will be required to treat the wound. You only need to clean the wound and it will heal on its own in about a week.

Related: How to Get Rid of Ants | Ultimate Guide

List of Sources

Klotz, J. H., Rust, M. K., Hansen, L. D. (2009). Carpenter Ants. University of California.

Houseman, R. M. (2002). Carpenter Ants. University of Missouri.

Jones, S. C. (2017). Carpenter Ants. Ohio State University Extension.