Carpenter Ant Bites

Carpenter ant with large mandibles

Reasons Carpenter Ants Bite

Carpenter ants do not seek humans to bite. However, the very territorial ant will bite to defend its nest. When provoked, the carpenter ant uses its wood-cutting mandibles to bite and potentially ward off an intruder.

Appearance of Bite Marks & Symptoms

Carpenter ants are large and leave sizable bite marks with the following characteristics:

  • May break the skin. Carpenter ants are equipped with strong mandibles.
  • About the size of a pea. They look like red blemishes.
  • May swell and and become inflamed. They typically take three to eight days to disappear.

Are Carpenter Ant Bites Painful?

A carpenter ant bite feel likes a sharp pinch and may be quite painful for the following reason:

  • Formic acid. This same acid found in a bee sting can be injected into the wound during a bite, potentially causing a prolonged burning sensation.

Although painful, carpenter ant bites are not venomous (or poisonous) and cannot transmit disease. Therefore, bites do not pose a health risk to humans.


Immediately after being bitten:

  • Wash the wound. Clean the bite site with soap and warm water.
  • Use antibiotic ointment. Apply this to the wound if the skin is broken.
  • Bandage the wound. Do this only after thoroughly cleaning the carpenter ant bite site.
  • No scratching. Wounds may itch for several days. Avoid scratching the bite area.
  • Use ice packs. Applying an ice pack to the wound may reduce itching.

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