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Do Ants Carry Disease?

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Do Ants Carry Disease & Germs?

Do ants carry disease? The short answer is yes. 

It’s true. Ants are not considered to be as dangerous as mosquitoes and other insects. However, they harbor and transfer bacterial and fungal organisms.

Most people perceive ants to be a hygenic issue that threatens the sanitation of food related areas. When, in fact, an NIH study on ants ability to act as vectors of foodborne pathogens found that ants carry yeasts, molds, and other bacteria. Ants are also 70% likely to transfer E. coli to food surfaces, highlighting the problem of ant infestation as much more than a sanitation-related problem. Ants can be a major food safety issue. Never lose sight that ants can harbor and transfer pathogenic or toxigenic microorganisms. There is a real possibility that ants can contaminate your food, water and any surfaces that come into contact with food in your home or business – causing foodborne illnesses. 

Ant bites and stings

The bites and stings of ants can cause severe symptoms and illnesses that lead to allergic reactions. Some people may exhibit hypersensitivity to venom from ants.

The most notable association with allergic reactions to ant venom is that of the Fire Ant. The resulting bite can be very serious, even resulting in life-threatening conditions. Victims may exhibit itching, intense pain, and swelling at the sight of the bite with a lesion. There is even a potential for victims to experience anaphylaxis, which can be a reaction that not only causes shock but can be life-threatening. To avoid further infection, victims must keep the site clean and disinfected. 


Food Borne Disease Organisms

In general, the typical homeowner or business manager doesn’t usually consider the possibility of disease transmission caused by ants. Inside housing structures, the foraging behaviors of ants involve a quest for food and moisture – behaviors that may take them to some of the less hygienic portions of the home.

Ants tend to transmit germs that exist in the sources they forage from. For instance, some ants prefer to infest the bathrooms and kitchens in our homes. Ants can pick up organisms from the garbage or the commode and then transfer them to any food utensils and food preparation areas as they forage around the house. It is essential to be aware and consider ants to be more severe than the nuisances they cause.