Most people are very surprised to learn that ants are of the same order as bees and wasps.
Some ants inject venom into human beings in much the same way as bees wasps and hornets. The most commonly reported stings are from fire ants in the US and jack jumper ants in Australia, both of which are members of the hymenoptera order of insects.
Jack Jumper and Bulldog Ants – Australia
Jumper ants are recorded throughout Australia, but usually found in Tasmania, rural Victoria, NSW, ACT and the South East of South Australia. They are of the genus Myrmecia. The important Myrmecia species are the smaller (10–12 mm) ‘jumper ants’ of the pilosula and nigrocincta species groups, and the larger (15–25 mm) ‘bull dog ants’ of the gulosa species group.
After firmly gripping their victim with their mandibles, the stinger delivers venom that contains pain-inducing substances and enzymes designed to kill insect prey, that are also potent allergens in humans. These ants typically cause local reactions – ie swelling and heat.followed by blistering rather like the picture on the right incurred through fire ants.
However in a small number of cases – around 3% research indicates – the victims do go on to have a systemic or anaphylactic reaction. Due to the comparative rarity of bulldog anbd jumper ants, and the similarity to fire ants in the human allergic response, there has been modest medical research on the matter.