Red fire ants are on the march – they reached the United States from South America in the early 1930s and they’ve now been spotted in Europe.
They’re one of the world’s most invasive species – and the UK could be next on the invasion itinerary.
The welcome mat is unlikely to be deployed, because as one very brave animal expert reveals – they attack aggressively in swarms and will not hesitate to sting multiple times.
The fire ant (solenopsis invicta) is tiny, but packs a punch, biting into skin with its mandibles, then stinging once attached.
Coyote Peterson filmed himself walking barefoot through a nest of fire ants for the Brave Wilderness YouTube channel, to demonstrate what they’re capable of, with his feet receiving around 500 stings during the onslaught.
Red fire ants are on the march – they reached the United States from South America in the early 1930s and they’ve now been spotted in Europe
Coyote Peterson filmed himself walking barefoot through a nest of fire ants for the Brave Wilderness YouTube channel, to demonstrate what they’re capable of
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Coyote, who’s from Ohio, explains that fire ants inject a neurotoxic venom that ‘immediately leaves their victim feeling as if they’ve stepped into a pool of lava’.
The fire ant is ‘one of the most formidable little biological landmines that exists on the entire planet’, he says before putting his feet into the firing line.
The video does not make for easy viewing, with Coyote screaming and grunting in pain as the fire ants run riot over around his ankles and toes. And in between the toes, a sensitive area that he says is ‘the worst’ for pain.
He describes the pain as ‘so intense’, adding: ‘Fire ants are incredibly mighty. They’re destroying my feet.’
Within minutes the stings begin to ‘welt up’.
It’s not long before Coyote reaches the threshold of what he can endure and brushes the ants off with a feature duster.
The heat is on: Coyote enters the fire-ant ‘sting zone’
Fire ants attack aggressively in swarms and will not hesitate to sting multiple times. Above – Coyote’s feet during the fire-ant onslaught
Fourteen hours after the fire-ant attack and ‘pustules have come out in full force’ over Coyote’s feet
Sitting on a chair afterwards, Coyote reveals that he took around 450 to 500 stings and that both of his feet are in ‘absolute agony’.
Fourteen hours later, and ‘pustules have come out in full force’ over his feet.
What should you do if you’re stung by fire ants?
First, pour cold water over the sting site, says Coyote, and wash dirt, dust and debris off. Then apply first aid such as ‘Sting Kill’, which offers fast relief.
Coyote adds that very few people have an allergic reaction to fire ant stings but he cautions to ‘stay in tune with how your body is reacting to the venom’.
He adds: ‘If you feel your throat tightening up, or you’re really losing control of the situation, seek medical help.’
For more from Brave Wilderness click here.