Beware, Beware, the Bullet Ant!

Ants are generally not considered to be a dangerous stinging insect to most Americans. However, one large and aggressive ant may change that perspective should it ever become an invasive species: the Bullet Ant.

Currently, the Bullet Ant is confined to Central America and South America, but it’s not too hard to imagine them somehow making their way up north to the U.S. And if they do…well, let’s just say that it won’t be very nice. The Bullet Ant is generally considered one of the most painful insects in the whole world.

Just how painful is its sting? In the early 80’s, Justin Schmidt, an entomologist, created a “pain index” that rated the stings of 70 different insects. The poor man actually submitted himself to each of these stings, a fact that makes him a pest control hero.

The Bullet Ant sting was, in his mind, equivalent of “getting shot” by a gun. The pain was absolutely excruciating at the sting point and the venom of the stinger can actually cause you to have severe muscle spasms.

If you’re visiting South America (or plan on importing fruit from there) how can you spot these dangerous pests? Well, they’re about an inch and a half long (seriously) and have a very dark brown or red body and long, hairy legs. Usually, they’re found at the base of a tree.

Just be glad that this little bugger isn’t yet found in our borders! However, if you suspect you may have accidentally brought one back with you from vacation, immediately get away from it and call a pest control expert.