Most homeowners have dealt with ants at some point in their lives. Finding a couple of ants crawling around the countertop is always an unpleasant sight, though however odious ants may be, they can do more than frighten and irritate. If not properly handled, ants can pose a severe threat to your health.
They are a few ways in which ants directly threaten your well-being, for example, with their sting. A single fire ant can give a painful sting, while a colony of them going on the attack can lead to dilated blood vessels and could cause death. The stings of fire ants are especially dangerous to small children and people with allergies or hypersensitivity to ant venom.
Meanwhile, wood-eating ants, otherwise known as carpenter ants, will gnaw through the support beams of a house, weakening it over time and creating massive amounts of damage. Left alone, an infestation of carpenter ants can corrupt the structural integrity of a building in a short amount of time.
The Unknown Threat
Whether giving painful stings or destroying property, the ways ants directly threaten homeowners are clear. However, ants also pose a more subtle and indirect danger. Namely, in order to collect food, ants often haunt unsanitary places such as garbages, bathrooms and sinks. In these areas, ants can pick up foodborne disease organisms like Shigella, E. coli and Salmonella. Then, they may deposit these diseases in pantries, counters and refrigerators — locations where people often store the food they eat.
The symptoms of these diseases can be incredibly painful, and if not treated, even deadly. Foodborne illnesses can cause cramps, chills, diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Dehydration can then occur if the body does not receive enough fluid to replace the fluid lost during diarrhea and vomiting. If not treated, the individual could go into a coma or experience paralysis, resulting in long-term health complications.
While every single ant you see may not be carrying a life-threatening disease, if hundreds or thousands of ants are moving back and forth between garbage bins, sinks and pantries, the odds are high that at least one of them is transporting something dangerous on its body. And one is all it takes. If ants have taken over your house, don’t hesitate to take action to remove them or contact us.