How to Help a Bull Ant Bite

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Bull ants often bite their victims several times.
Bull ants often bite their victims several times. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Bull ants, also known as bulldog ants, are native to Australia and are typically 8 to 10 mm in length. They have the potential to bite their victims repeatedly. Many people are allergic to these bites, and bull ants are responsible for several deaths every year in Australia. The bites are extremely painful and will often swell and turn red. Fortunately, if you're not allergic to these bites, you can take a few simple steps to treat them on your own.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Wash towel
  • Antihistamine
  • Baking soda
  • Ice
  • Tweezers

Brush off all ants immediately. Bull ants are highly aggresive and will bite repeatedly if given the chance. Use your hand to quickly remove all ants from your body, and, if available, use tweezers to remove any ants left behind.

Go to the hospital immediately if you know you have an allergy to bull ant bites, or see a doctor if you are unsure if you have allergies. If you do have a doctor, ask him or her about obtaining an epi pen in case you begin to go into anaphylactic shock.

Clean the area around the bite with a mild soap and water. Scrub gently with a wash towel in a circular motion. If you scrub too hard, you risk aggravating the bite further.

Treat the affected area with a mixture of baking soda and water. When a bull ant bites, it leaves small amounts of acid behind. This acid functions similarly to the venom in a bee sting. A small amount of baking soda will neutralize the acidity of the ant bite and reduce irritation.

Hold ice over the affected area for 20 minutes at a time, and if possible, keep the afflicted body part elevated higher than your heart. This should reduce swelling.

Use antihistamine medication to alleviate itching. As the bull ant bite begins to heal, you may feel compelled to rub or scratch the bite. Antihistamines may also help with other symptoms such as swelling.

Go see a doctor if the problem persists, or if there is the smallest sign of an allergic reaction. See a doctor if you detect pus, which can be a sign of infection.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid itching or rubbing the affected area. This will only irritate and worsen your condition.

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