Adverse reactions to ants other than imported fire ants

John H. Klotz, Richard D. DeShazo, Jacob L. Pinnas, Austin M. Frishman, Justin O. Schmidt, Daniel R. Suiter, Gary W. Price, Stephen A. Klotz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify ants other than Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri reported to cause adverse reactions in humans. Data Sources: We conducted a literature review to identify reports of medical reactions to ants other than S invicta and S richten. Our review of medical and entomological literature on stinging ants was generated from MEDLINE and FORMIS, respectively, using the key words stinging ants and ant stings. The search was limited to articles in English published from 1966 to 2004 on MEDLINE and all years on FORMIS. We also present 3 new case reports of severe reactions to stings by 2 different species of ants, Pseudomyrmex ejectus and Hypoponera punctatissima. Study Selection: Articles that concerned anaphylactic (IgE-mediated) or anaphylactic-like (resembling anaphylaxis but mechanism unknown) immediate reactions to ant stings or bites were included in this review. Results: Taken together, our data demonstrate that S invicta and S richteri are not alone in their capability to cause serious allergic or adverse reactions. A diverse array of ant species belonging to 6 different subfamilies (Formicinae, Myrmeciinae, Ponerinae, Ectatomminae, Myrmicinae, and Pseudomyrmecinae) and 10 genera (Solenopsis, Formica, Myrmecia, Tetramorium, Pogonomyrmex, Pachycondyla, Odontomachus, Rhytidoponera, Pseudomyrmex, and Hypoponera) have now been shown to have this capability. Conclusion: Awareness that species other than imported fire ants may cause severe reactions should lead to more rapid evaluation and treatment and further investigation of the medical entomology of these ants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-425
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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