Are Ants Dangerous? Different Dangers Posed By Ants
Yes, ants are dangerous. Depending on the species, ants may present a variety of dangers. These dangers include property damage, ecological damage, and health risks. While most are simply dangerous as pests, some ants can cause human deaths.
In this article we’ll learn more about the dangers of ants as we discuss the following:
- How ants are dangerous
- Common types of dangerous ants
We’ll also look into a few tips on how you can avoid these dangers.
How are Ants Dangerous?
Ants can be dangerous in a variety of ways. These ways include the following:
Ants are a common household pest that can pose health risks to humans. Some ants carry and transmit disease-causing pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus. These pathogens can contaminate food and lead to gastrointestinal issues.
In addition to transmitting diseases, some ants can cause physical harm. Fire ants, for example, are notorious for their painful stings. These stings often result in itching, swelling, and blisters. In some cases, they may even lead to severe or fatal allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis.
Furthermore, ants can also cause respiratory issues outside stings. Studies have found that ants can trigger coughing and wheezing. This is especially true for people with existing conditions like asthma. 
Home or Structural Damage
Ants can cause significant damage to homes and other structures. Carpenter ants, for example, tunnel through wood to create nests and pathways. In doing so, they damage and weaken the structural integrity of the wood.
In severe cases, carpenter ant infestations can cause floors to sag and roofs to collapse. When left unchecked, they can cause damage similar to termites. See this article to learn more about carpenter ants.
In addition to carpenter ants, other species of ants also cause damage to homes and buildings. For example, crazy and pharaoh ants can sometimes damage electronics. These ants swarm around appliances and junction boxes. As such, they can cause short circuits, power surges, and electrical damage. 
Damage to Plants and Yards
Ants can cause damage to plants both directly and indirectly. Harvester ants, for example, feed on seeds and therefore interfere with plant growth. Leafcutter ants, on the other hand, cut down leaves for their fungal gardens. This often leads to defoliation and negatively affects plant health.
Indirectly, ants create conditions that favor the growth of plant pests and diseases. For example, some ants cultivate and protect aphids, mealybugs, and other plant pests. These pests feed on plants directly. They suck out nutrients from plants and can cause stunted growth. They also promote the growth of fungal diseases that further damage plants.
Lastly, ants can also cause damage to landscaping and outdoor structures. Soil-nesting ants often create unsightly ant mounds. These mounds can become a nuisance on well-maintained grasses or lawns. Worse, mounds can loosen the soil and uproot plants.
See this article to learn more about ant mounds.
There are a good number of invasive ants that can cause ecological damage. These invasives outcompete and displace native species leading to changes in the ecosystem. They contribute greatly to the loss of biodiversity.
Red imported fire ants, for instance, are one of the worst invasive ants. They cause harm to a wide variety of ground-dwelling and egg-hatching wildlife. They even target endangered animals including certain quails, turtles, and crocodiles. 
Invasive ants can also negatively affect plants. In addition to protecting pests, and loosening soil, they can also disrupt pollination. They do so as they reduce the number of native pollinators like bees and butterflies. This negatively affects plant reproduction and the overall health of the ecosystem.
Common Dangerous Ants
The following list includes common dangerous ants that you should be aware of. Understanding the dangers of these ants can help you take the necessary precautions.
It is important to note that while these ants are dangerous, they are not always aggressive. They typically only attack if they feel threatened.
The Argentine ant is a small, light to dark brown global invasive ant species native to South America. They’re considered to be one of the world’s most problematic ants due to their large colonies. They’re also known to be quite territorial and aggressive toward other ants. They tend to displace native ant species and affect the balance of the ecosystem.
As far as we humans are concerned, Argentine ants aren’t much of a threat. They don’t sting and their bites are generally harmless. They can, however, contaminate food so you wouldn’t want them in your home.
Carpenter ants are black or reddish-brown and larger than most ant species. They’re known to be wood-infesting ants that can cause significant damage to wood.
They are especially attracted to damp or damaged wood. Therefore, buildings with moisture problems are particularly vulnerable to infestations. If left untreated, carpenter ants can cause serious damage to the structure of a building.
Fire ants are known for their painful sting that can cause a burning sensation and a raised welt on the skin. These ants are notorious for their aggressive behavior. They quickly swarm and attack any perceived threat to their colony.
Fire ants are particularly dangerous to people who are allergic to their venom. Their stings can severe allergic reactions that can be life-threatening. Symptoms can range from mild irritation to anaphylaxis.
In addition to their painful sting, fire ants are also a threat to agriculture and ecosystems. They damage crops, infest agricultural land, and cause significant economic losses.
Odorous House Ants
The odorous house ant is a common household pest found throughout the United States. They’re small, black-brown ants that release an unpleasant odor when crushed.
Mostly a nuisance rather than dangerous, these ants can infest homes in large numbers. There, they can contaminate food and cause headaches with their rotten coconut smell.
Pavement ants are small, dark-colored ants found in urban areas. They typically nest under sidewalks, driveways, and foundations.
Much like odorous ants, pavement ants are generally considered nuisance pests. They can invade houses in large numbers and contaminate food sources.
Pharaoh ants are small, light brown ants known for infesting indoor environments. These ants are particularly common in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
While Pharaoh ants do not pose a direct health threat to humans, they can be dangerous in other ways. These ants infest and contaminate medical equipment. They spread harmful pathogens including disease-causing bacteria. These bacteria include Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Clostridium.
How to Prevent Dangerous Ants?
Ants are generally attracted to the same things. There aren’t special considerations to prevent dangerous ants. You simply have to take the same steps as you would in preventing other ant infestations.
Here are some of these steps:
- Keep your house clean and free of food debris. Regularly wipe down your counters, sweep the floors, and store food properly.
- Keep your house dry. Be sure to fix leaks and address any moisture issues.
- Seal any cracks or gaps in walls or foundations that ants may use to enter your home.
- Use repellants or control methods like baits as needed.
Do Ants Have Any Redeeming Qualities?
Despite the dangers associated with ants, they remain to be beneficial animals. In fact, ecologists consider them to be a keystone species. This means that they define and hold an ecosystem together.
Ants contribute largely to environmental diversity, productivity, and nutrient and energy flow. They help sustain us and other life forms on earth.
Check this article to learn more about how ants are beneficial.
Are Ants Dangerous to Pets?
Yes, ants are dangerous to pets. They may bite or sting pets that come into contact with their nests. These bites or stings can be painful and cause allergic reactions. They can be particularly lethal to smaller animals.
Could Ants Kill Us?
Yes, ants could kill us. In fact, there are many recorded deaths due to ant stings. Again, these stings can cause severe to lethal allergic reactions like anaphylaxis.
What is the Deadliest Ant?
Bulldog ants are widely considered to be the most dangerous ants in the world. These ants from Australia, are known for their aggressive behavior and potent venom.
They seemingly have no fear of human beings. They relentlessly attack and sting multiple times in quick succession. With each sting, they inject more venom into their victims. It is said, that these stings can kill an adult human within 15 minutes.
To summarize, ants can be dangerous. Their bites and stings can cause severe allergic reactions that lead to fatalities. They can also transmit many disease-causing pathogens that often lead to gastrointestinal problems.
Aside from health risks, ants are known to cause plant and property damage. Carpenter ants, for instance, may cause significant damage to wood similar to termites.
Lastly, invasive ants often negatively affect the health of ecosystems. These ants are usually aggressive and displace native species. In doing, so they disrupt the balance of the ecosystem leading to a loss of biodiversity.