Red fire ants are on the rise: they reached the United States from South America in the early 1930s and have now been spotted in Europe.
They are one of the most invasive species in the world – and Britain could be next on the invasion route.
The welcome mat is unlikely to be deployed because, as one very brave animal expert reveals: they attack aggressively in swarms and will not hesitate to sting multiple times.
The fire ant (solenopsis invicta) is small but packs a punch, biting into the skin with its mandibles and then stinging once stuck.
Coyote Peterson filmed himself walking barefoot through a nest of fire ants for the Brave wilderness YouTube channel, to demonstrate what they are capable of, with his feet receiving around 500 stitches during the attack.
Red fire ants are on the rise: they reached the United States from South America in the early 1930s and have now been spotted in Europe
Coyote Peterson filmed himself walking barefoot through a nest of fire ants for the Brave Wilderness YouTube channel, demonstrating what they are capable of
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Coyote, a native of Ohio, explains that fire ants inject a neurotoxic poison that “instantly makes their victim feel as if they have stepped into a pool of lava.”
The fire ant is “one of the most formidable little biological landmines that exist on the entire planet,” he says before putting his feet in the line of fire.
The video doesn’t make for easy viewing, with Coyote screaming and grunting in pain as the fire ants run around his ankles and toes. And between the toes is a sensitive area that he says is “the worst” in terms of pain.
He describes the pain as “so intense,” adding, “Fire ants are incredibly powerful. They’re destroying my feet.’
Within a few minutes the stitches begin to ‘swell’.
It doesn’t take long for Coyote to reach the threshold of what he can tolerate and wipe the ants away with a duster.
The heat is on: Coyote enters the fire ant’s ‘sting zone’
Fire ants attack aggressively in swarms and will not hesitate to sting multiple times. Above: Coyote’s feet during the fire ant attack
Fourteen hours after the fire ant attack, “pimples have appeared full force” on Coyote’s feet
Sitting on a chair, Coyote then reveals that he has received approximately 450 to 500 stitches and that both of his feet are in “absolute pain.”
Fourteen hours later, ‘pimples came out in full force’ on his feet.
What should you do if you are stung by fire ants?
First, pour cold water over the sting site, Coyote says, and rinse away dirt, dust and debris. Then apply first aid as ‘Kill sting‘, which provides quick relief.
Coyote adds that very few people have an allergic reaction to fire ant stings, but he cautions to “stay aware of how your body reacts to the venom.”
He adds: ‘If you feel your throat tightening, or you really lose control of the situation, seek medical attention.’
For more information about Brave Wilderness click here.