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Fire Ant Bite Remedies

Last Modified on Sep 01, 2015

Fire ant bites are misery itself! Actually, what we're talking about is a fire ant sting, because when a fire ant feels threatened it stings its "attacker" from the abdomen, just like the wasps from which they are descended. Unfortunately, fire ants often attack in numbers, and their stings can lead to infection of an open wound.

The symptoms of a fire ant bite or sting include a burning or stinging pain, whitish blisters, hives, swelling, redness, inflammation, and possibly a red circle around the bite itself. Secondary systemic symptoms such as a headache are also possible.

Natural Cures: A cold compress applied right away will reduce inflammation and pain. Aloe applied to fire ant stings can relieve the itching and pain. Both vinegar and a baking soda paste have been recommended as natural remedies to soothe the pain from fire ant bites, though in the end one of these should be a better treatment than the other. Hopefully Earth Clinic readers can discover the truth!

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Most Popular Fire Ant Bites Remedies:

Apple Cider Vinegar9
Campfire Ashes or Strong Soap4

User Reviews

Apple Cider Vinegar
  User Ratings

Posted by Collette (San Diego) on 07/21/2015

[YEA]  Thank you. I was starting to panic after a huge fire ant repeatedly bit me on my toe. It swelled immediately and was so painful I couldn't stand it. I live for away from any stores and read about the apple cider vinegar remedy. Instant relief.

Replied by Pat
Windsor Berkshire

I have been bitten but I was in bed. It's burning and painfully little white blisters and circle of red I've put cider vinegar on the area. It's helping didn't know that fire ants come indoors. Is this right?

Posted by Ruth (Coral Springs, Florida) on 10/02/2012

[YEA]  Recently I got red ant bites. It was quite uncomfortable and the best relief was the suggsestion I got on your website to soak your feet in apple cider vinegar.

Replied by Colorado Mom
Denver, Colorado

[YEA]   I had several red ant stings on my leg and ankle. 6 hours, cold compresses and a benedryl later I read this advice about apple cider vinegar. I jumped up, got the cider and cotton balls and dabbed. Instant relief! It did wear off but just applied again. Thank you!
Replied by Ali
Tampa, Fl

[YEA]   ACV is definitely helpful for time being! Thanks for the Apple Cider Vinegar idea!!

Posted by Laura (Denton, Tx) on 09/18/2009

[YEA]  I'm allergic to fire ant bites, and my foot was swollen and sore for 3 days. I tried everything. I remembered that apple cider vinegar works wonders for a million other things, so I tried it on a lark. Instantly, my foot felt better and the swelling went down within minutes. Apple cider vinegar works is a miracle home remedy for treating fire ant bites!!!

Replied by Stephanie B.
Fort Worth, Texas

[YEA]   Thank you! 3am and I wake up because of a stupid fire ant bite AGAIN on the second toe on my left foot. I think the ants put a GPS locater on me, always the same spot, but this they were fancy and bit between the toes. Read these posts, ran to the kitchen and all I could find was seasoned spice vinegar. I smell like Asian food but relief was immediate! Thank you!!
Replied by Sara
Carthage, Tx

[YEA]   TY TY TY for the info on ACV for fire ant bites. I just bought some _____ Org ACV and will use it on my multiple FA bites that I got today.
Replied by Jennifer
Manchester, Tn

[YEA]   I was bitten by fire ants on my feet and ankles and several yellow jacket stings all in one afternoon out on the farm. I treated immediately with cortisone cream and benedryl but relief was temporary at best. Itching and pistules with an area of redness and swelling extending several inches from the bites. Read your response on using cider vinegar. Dabbed that on and got immediate relief. Thank you for your advice.
Replied by Miah
Durham, Nc

[YEA]   It worked awesomely for my fire ant sting! Soaked my foot in apple cider vinegar 2 days post sting. The burning and swelling were intense prior to soaking. Afterwards I could walk without limping! Even went for my usual run! The vinegar drew it all out of my tissues and now I just have a huge blister. Not painful anymore at all. A little itchy but that's it. The blister is too big to pop so it's not red or painful and just clear. I'm leaving it alone...
Replied by Bev
Temecula, Ca

I tried the hot water treatment. Sitting here reading your site because I was too itchy to drive to the store for benedryl, I remembered that using hot water on poison oak worked so I tried it again and .... it WORKED. Thank you for the reminder. The itching and pain are gone, the swelling in my feet and ankles is still there but now I'm going to try the vinegar bath. Thanks again!

Baking Soda
  User Ratings

Posted by Katherine (Boca Raton, Fl) on 05/12/2014

I was going to make a paste of baking soda and water to put on my daughter's foot. She has a couple red ant bites & it is quite swollen. Would it help?

Replied by Mama To Many Donate



Baking soda should be a good option for the fire ant bites. If that doesn't provide relief, you can make a table salt poultice, which we have found very effective in reducing pain and swelling from bites. (We mix it with water and put in a paper towel and wrap to the area with Cling Wrap.) Also, if there is swelling, elevating the foot would be great if that is possible.

Let us know how it goes!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile , Tn

YEP, fire ants can kill you. Lots of stories to that effect when someone was penned on a fire ant hill. They are moving north from the Sweat South. All the insecticides are just so much hooey. We have tried them all and all they do is make them move to a new area. The absolute best solution to rid them is 20 Mule Team Borax. Why? I have no clue, but it works.

When we get bit , we just grin and bear it. Discussing this is a waste of time . It is priority # 942 in the real health world. That comment is what was expected of me. Right?

==========OLE ROBERT HENRY============

Benzoyl Peroxide
  User Ratings

Posted by Julie (Las Vegas, Nevada) on 07/29/2008

[YEA]  Another thing that can work really fast for ant bites is benzoyl peroxide (Clearasil or similar products). Just dab on, and repeat later-usually works within a day or two; will take the itching away fast. Also works for spider bites, and other types of skin bumps.

Campfire Ashes or Strong Soap
  User Ratings

Posted by Donna (Port Huron, MI) on 12/14/2008

[YEA]  We go backpacking in remote areas where we are far from medical help and must deal with problems immediately. One night I woke up to find half my face red and swollen from red ant bites. Ants inject formic acid which causes the pain in nerve endings. If the formic acid is neutralized immediately, the pain is much less. First I applied a baking soda paste from my first aid kit but without much relief. Then I used ashes from the campfire. The relief was rapid and I didn't feel any more pain. We were in Hawaii in Dec where I was bitten by about 50 fire ants...much more painful than any other insect bite I have ever had. We didn't have any baking soda or ashes and I wanted to treat it immediately. In a hotel room, there are few options, but I found the strongest soap that I could and lathered myself for about 20 minutes in the shower. The soap neutralized the acid and the water from the shower diluted the acid. The pain left almost instantly. I attribute the success of this to being treated in less than 2 minutes. Three places that I missed had swellings about 2 1/2" across. I would not have wanted to have 50 welts like that on my body.

Replied by Nsmith
Douglasville, Ga

[YEA]   SOAP, ANY BAR OF SOAP, This is a remedy my greatgrand mother used on us for generations. Take a bar of soap barely wet the tip of it. Massage rub it in circles into the insect bites until the soap starts drying up or feels like a sticky film. That part is very important to do, 5 mins instant relief. Very soothing and no itching.
Replied by Hannah
Tyler, Tx

[YEA]   My son (who was not even two at the time) stood in a fire ant pile. I could not even count how many stings he had. I didn't know what to do!! Without thinking I started rubbing campfire ashes all over his legs. He stopped crying and didn't act like they hurt so bad the rest of the trip. sorry for my bad spelling! thank you! No one believed me that it helped him!
Replied by Tina Sumner
Washougal, Wa

[YEA]   that is so tru this works sooo well I did this with my youngest as well it was a miracle worker

  User Ratings

Posted by Greenllll (Kingstree, SC) on 09/11/2014

[YEA]  I was pulling weeds w/ gloves on and got 20 fire-ant stings where my gloves touch my wrists. Then to top it off, a wasp stung my finger through the gloves. It hurt bad.

Normally, my body can handle a few stings w/out a hitch but, for whatever reason, whether it was the fact that I vomited a lot the night before due to overeating, or it was due to the mixture of the 2 different poisons in my hand, my hand swelled up, and I couldn't close my fist w/out an inch gap.

Of course, the first thing I did was go to Earth Clinic. I tried ACV soak, charcoal poultice, I ate 1 square inch of charcoal, and I bathed. None of that made the swelling go down.

Then I put a big poultice of comfrey on my hand, where the glove was protecting it. Note that the ants never stung my hand, but it was swollen. This didn't yield any effect.

Next I put the poultice on my wrist w/ the 20 ant stings and I made a little poultice for the site of the wasp sting on my finger. That drawed out the poison to the skin, so I had these white blisters on my skin after applying to poultice directly to the area that was stung. I still have them & I'm on day 2. Although the white blisters are still there, the swelling in my hand has decreased 90% since I added the comfrey poultice, and none of the other things I tried reduced the swelling. I an close my hand now with maybe 5% resistence.

The strange thing is, & I'm not recommending this, but the majority of the healing occurred while I was doing tantric work, and my heart was lit up to almost overstimulation. Don't ask. Still, I think the comfrey was the key herb. Knitbone is one of the most powerful healing herbs known. Its amazing stuff. It can make swelling go down in a few hours, even w/ broken bones, not that that is always a good thing, probably not, but it works that way. Get your bones set before using this stuff. As for antbites, chew it up w/ some water, spit it on the area, and cover it up w/ a grocery bag & some tape.

Emu Oil
  User Ratings

Posted by Peggy (Chelsea, Al) on 06/23/2013

[YEA]  Emu oil is AMAZING for fire ants bites!! Make sure it's natural and pure.

Fresh Lemon Juice
  User Ratings

Posted by Aeiver (New Braunfels, Tx, USA) on 04/08/2012

[YEA]  I learned this remedy from a lady from Panama. She advised me to rub a fresh lemon slice on fire ant bites. For me the relief is instantaneous. Also, a pustule does not form. A co-worker came to work complaining of fire ant bites she had gotten several hours earlier that were still burning. There was no lemon available, so she rubbed her bites with some orange slices. She reported the bites felt better immediately. I am guessing that lime would be equally effective.

Replied by Cyn

[YEA]   I was stung yesterday by 50 fire ants, all over my feet , it was horrible. It would itch, I would scratch, then it became very painful. This repeated for the next 28 hours. So severe I had blisters the size of a quarter. I went to google, brought me to earth clinic. I rubbed lemon on even the parts with the blisters. INSTANT RELIEF please REMEMBER THIS. It has been 15 minutes and still no pain, no itch unbelievable that this worked. Thank u sooo ooo much

  User Ratings

Posted by Miyo (Hilo, Hawaii) on 09/23/2012

[YEA]  little fire ants are invading the islands. I thank the person who suggested hot water--yes it works immediately and relief lasts 4-5 hours. I also found that your hair dryer does the same thing (tested it several times). At the first bite, grab your dryer right away and the heat seems to disperse the histamine that causes the pain and itch. It has to be hot enough without scalding.

Multiple Remedies
  User Ratings

Posted by Katrinika (Raleigh, NC) on 06/11/2013

[YEA]  Went foraging, hoping to find some wild stinging nettle, and while being ever so careful of some vigorously healthy poison ivy, I was looking closer at a pointed, jagged-edged leaf (not nettles after all) when I realized my feet were burning. Fire ants! Before I could brush them all away I had numerous stings to my feet and ankles. They hurt a lot!

I hurried for home but almost immediately stumbled into some clay quick sand in a run off area that sucked my sandals off - we just had a LOT of rain - and realized as I hurried on that it had felt soothing to the bites. So I went back and stood in the mud for a moment or two. I didn't want to waste time getting back home to treat before too much damage was done, but I do think the clay bought me some time or even was a beneficial first line of treatment!

At home twenty minutes later, I did a hasty google and ran into the debate about acid vs. Alkaline treatment. So I quickly doused my feet and ankles in white vinegar (at ten times the price I figured I save my raw organic ACV for spot treating later), dumped that out and then doused in household cleaning ammonia. Then I threw together an Epsom salts soak with the cold water on hand outside, figuring that even if it did nothing about the stings it would calm me down.

I shortly realized that the only sting that was hurting was one that was too high up my leg for the Epsom salts to reach (I may have missed it with the vinegar and ammonia, too, and the higher bite wouldn't have made it into the mud, for sure). I changed that leg to a different, higher bucket.

After about half an hour, with a headache trying to sneak in (fire ants?), I rubbed on some witch hazel/mint mouthwash/EOs mixture that helped last year with chigger bites (thank you, Earth Clinic people) and decided to try to nap and decide what other steps I'd have to take from there.

Well, I must have done something right because two hours later all I see where I know ants stung is little dark sting spots. No blister, redness, burning, etc. It itches a little but the chigger mixture takes care of that.

I had been anticipating having to hunt up more remedies... Things like plantain, etc. , to deal with the aftermath. I'll know better tomorrow, but at the moment it looks like there is no aftermath! In the past, without immediate treatment, those stings have resulted in terrible misery and open, running sores that went on for weeks.

Thank You, God... Your natural pharmacy rules!

Replied by Katrinika
Raleigh, Nc

I wrote too soon! As the day progressed, my feet swelled and some itching began. I soaked in Epsom salts again before bed and used the chigger mixture and comfrey salve. During the night I had to use my chigger mixture to quell itching and this morning I have little blisters. Not waiting for them to fester, but lancing them and rubbing on raw ACV with much relief. Will post to see how long it takes to recover completely. (Sorry for posting too soon... lesson learned! ).

Oil of Oregano
  User Ratings

Posted by Greg (Fort Worth, Texas) on 11/15/2010

[YEA]  Oil of Oregano!!! I discovered this amazing essential oil about a year ago and I'm constantly amazed at the ailments it cures! I got about 10 fire ant bites a few years ago and they lingered with white centers for about 2 weeks, then took another month to heal, leaving a small scar. I got 7 bites 3 days ago out on a job. I came home 3 hours later and put oil of oregano on them. The itching disappeared immediately. The bites turned white in the center by the next day, but I kept applying the oil morning and night. By evening of day 3, white centers were gone! I'm anticipating total healing within days, not weeks! Maybe even less or no scar! There's many other uses for this natural antibiotic also!

  User Ratings

Posted by Apollo (West Palm Beach, Florida) on 09/28/2012

[YEA]  Papaya placed on the fire ant bite takes the sting and itching away and if done within minutes of getting bit, the bite will not blister. You can buy a papaya fruit and cut it into cubes and freeze it. This way it is always on hand to put on a bite.

Tiger Balm
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Posted by Deirdre (Atlanta, Georgia) on 07/01/2009

[YEA]  On the subject of fire ant bite remedies, a few weeks ago I was in the garden weeding and pulled out an enormous weed and with it, hundreds of fire ants. They bit me all over my hand and wrist in less than an instant. I went in and tried rubbing soap on the bites after reading the few cures we have for fire ant bites on Earth Clinic, but it didn't work. After that I decided to try tiger balm, my favorite remedy for mosquito bite itch. 10 minutes after applying the balm, the bites stopped stinging. I forgot all about them and a few hours later when I checked my hand, there were no signs whatsoever that I had ever been bitten!

Replied by Michael
Fort Pierce, Florida, Usa

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]   I was bitten in eleven places on the top of my foot and ankle. It is now some 10 days to two weeks later and 2 days ago I still had pustules and the itching began to increase. Sites I looked at said they should go away in 72 hours. I had no other allergic reactions. I used a sterilized pin to lance the pustules. I put on antibiotic ointments, sprayed it with Bactine, soaked my feet with bath salts. Nothing worked. I had thought about Tiger Balm, but thought it was somehow counterintuitive, you know, it has menthol & gives off heat. I never gave vinegar of either kind a thought. Today, frustrated with the lack of any healing response, I googled the issue and when I saw the one about Tiger Balm, something clicked. So I put some on. It worked almost immediately to relieve the burning and itching. The swelling has gone down too. The red spots haven't gone away yet, but there's hope. I may use Apple Cider Vinegar tomorrow in conjunction (intermittently) with Tiger Balm. At least it reduced the symptoms.

White Vinegar
  User Ratings

Posted by Aileen (Victoria, Texas) on 08/19/2008

[YEA]  I agree with Ann, white vinegar for ant bites works wonderfully. I am allergic to ant bites too and also mosquito bites and everytime I get bit I apply white vinegar or apple cider vinegar immediately. I can feel the relief right away. I have used shaving cream, calamine lotion and hidrocortisone but the vinegar seems to neutralize the venom right away and the itching and swelling is gone faster.