Treating and Preventing Fire Ant Bites on Horses

Ants such as sugar ants or fire ants are a big problem not only in your home but for the animals on your farm as well. What would you have done if you have found sugar ants in house, obviously, you would have gotten rid of them. Similarly, you need to get rid of fire ants from your farm and surroundings as well.

Fire ants are most commonly found in the southeastern part of the United States and if you live there, you might have experienced their bites. While fire ants are a consistent threat to humans, animals are not prone to their bites as well. They are even a bigger threat to recumbent animals and newborns and to protect the animal from their harms you need effective measure. 

Symptoms of Fire Ants Infestations in Horses

Fire ants bites on horses are not difficult to diagnose and the symptoms are somewhat similar to that of humans. Here are some of the symptoms you need to look out for:

  1. Intense pain in the bite area.
  2. Intense pruritis (itching) around the area of the bite.
  3. Redness on the skin (erythema).

These are the most common symptoms found in horses bitten by fire ants. You will suffer from these too if fire ants bite you. Symptoms are developed quickly after the first bite. 

The effect of bites of fire ants on adult horses is different from their bites on weak, sick, or newborns. While their bites are very disturbing for adult horses but they are usually not lethal. Whereas newborns or weak adult horses can die as a result of their bites because they will suffer from a greater number of bites which means they will suffer from a high amount of venom.

Avoiding Fire Ants

The best way to protect the horses from fire ants is to keep them away from fire ants. Don’t take your horses for any activity around an anthill or a mound. Make sure you and nobody else disturbs the fire ant nest. Be careful when you work in your garden or mow the lawn. If the nest is disturbed and fire ants are leashed take yourself and the horses to a secure place. You can also hire a professional exterminator to help you get rid of the fire ant nests around the farm. If the horses are attacked by fire ants, take them away from them and remove the ants from their body. You can do this by using a piece of cloth. Make sure to wear gloves so they don’t sting you.

As said before newborns or weak horses are at a greater risk of getting injured or being dead eventually. This happens because they lay on the ground for most of the time and it’s easy for the ants to attack them. So you need to take special care of them. Keep them away from such places where fire ants nest exist and check them frequently and remove any first ant you find. 

Getting Rid of Fire Ants

Getting rid of fire ants from home is comparatively easy then removing them from a farm or field as there may be more than one nest in a larger area. 

Here are two ways to get rid of them:

  • Broadcast fire ant bait

Destroying a fire ant nest is not easy. You can apply poisonous bait such as piretherine that can help you get rid of them. But, you need to apply the baits regularly for a long-term result. You can broadcast fire ant bait on the entire area or you can also place a small amount of bait on every mound that you find. Treating individual mounds is more effective as it will kill fire ants at their source. Summer is the best season to kill the ants as in summer ants are constantly looking for food. 

  • Use home remedies

You can use home remedies to get rid of fire ants from your home or farm as well. One such remedy is to mix lemon juice with water and spraying the mixture on mounds. You can also use dish soap or detergent as the chemical in these products can kill the ants. Mix the soap or detergent with water and spray it on the mounds.

Treating Fire Ant Bites in Horses

How fire ant bites are treated depends on the area to be treated. Treating bites on the head or ears is less complex than treating bites around eyes. A veterinarian would suggest you the best treatment that would usually be symptomatic. He is likely to prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or topical corticosteroids that would help in reducing pruritis. Complete recovery would take a few days depending on the condition and health of the animal.  

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