Yes, some ants do indeed bite. However, not all subspecies in the ant family have stingers, nor do all of them “bite” or “sting” in the conventional sense. Some ants have jaw-like mouthparts that they use to bite. Others they have stingers in addition to mandibles, that they use to sting attackers. When ants feel threatened, or are attacked, they squirt out a jet of formic acid. It is this acid that may cause the burning sensation that many people report feeling when “bitten” by ants.

Certain species of ants are less aggressive than others, and may not even squirt out formic acid when attacked. In such cases, people may only report feeling a sensation of being “bitten” as these ants use their mouthparts to defend themselves against attackers.

More aggressive species of ants may attack with both stingers and mandibles, causing more pain and irritation in humans. Individuals who are allergic to formic acid may suffer greater reactions to otherwise harmless ant bites. In such cases, it is important to seek prompt medical attention.

The best way to avoid ant bites and any associated discomfort is to keep ants away with a natural, pet-friendly and child-friendly insect repellant such as EcoRaider®. This insecticide is also useful in the event of an ant infestation in your home. Chemicals in insect repellants or insecticides may be your friend when keeping ants away, but it is equally important to ensure that the same chemicals do not harm your family.