Can Fire Ants Kill Your Pets?

By Magdalena Smyczek - Own work, CC BY 4.0,

One of the most painful pests to have fires ants. Their stings can cause so much pain and also itchiness and lesions. But unless you’re allergic, fire ant bites can’t harm you.

But what about your pets? Should you worry about fire ants biting your dog, cat, or turtle? Can fire ants kill your pets?

Fire ants can’t kill most pets. They can only hurt them the same way they can hurt us, humans. But for small, newborn, old, ill, and allergic pets these stings can be life-threatening.

The best thing to do is to get rid of fire ants regardless. You don’t want to risk the health of your pet to these pests. Even if they can’t kill them, fire ants will still be a nuisance. Let’s find out some of the ways fire ants can harm your pets.

If you enjoy reading this article, why not check out our articles on How Strong Are Ants Compared to Humans? and Everything You Need to Know About Ants in Your Walls

Can Fire Ants Hurt/Kill Dogs?

Dogs get into trouble with fire ants a lot. This is because man’s best friend is very curious. They like sniffing out anything and everything, especially in gardens. And if there’s a fire ant mound around, your dog is sure to check this out as well.

That’s why having fire ants and dogs in the same area is a recipe for disaster. Expect your dog to be bitten by lots of angry ants. But unless your dog is a small breed, nothing much will happen. Yes, it’ll hurt, but big dogs are strong enough to shrug these stings off.

Small dogs are another story. A lot of ant bites can cause severe itchiness and swelling. Your dog will start excessively licking, scratching, and chewing the affected area. This may cause fur-loss and wounds.

Ants can damage lots of things besides pets. Read about some of them in What Can Ants Damage?

Can Fire Ants Hurt/Kill Dogs?

Then comes the toy-sized dogs. The dogs that are so small, you’re not sure if they’re dogs at all. If these are attacked by a hoard of ants, seek veterinary help immediately. The same goes for dogs that are allergic to ant bites. If you don’t get professional help right away, your dog may suffer from vomiting, collapse, difficulty breathing, and sometimes even death.

Can Fire Ants Hurt/Kill Cats?

People like to say that cats and dogs are opposites. But when it comes to these pets and fire ants, there are very few differences. Like big dogs, fire ants can’t bother big cats. Smaller cats may suffer from itchiness and swelling which causes them to scratch a lot. And, of course, you should keep your tiny cats well away from fire ants.

In the same way as dogs, some cats are allergic to fire ant bites. Fire ants have an alkaloid venom that can cause allergic reactions to animals. Cats with sensitive skin will suffer a lot when this venom is injected in them.

Have you ever heard the phrase “curiosity killed the cat”? Cats are naturally curious animals, just like dogs. That’s why they’re sure to check out a new ant mound if they see one. What’s more, fire ants also like eating cat food. So if your cat leaves its food alone, fire ants are sure to feast on it. By the time your cat goes back to its food, it’ll receive hundreds of bites.

That’s why to avoid fire ants stinging your cat, you should always take away untouched or leftover cat food. You should also get rid of the fire ant mounds in your garden as well.

Can Fire Ants Hurt/Kill Chickens?

When it comes to chickens and fire ants, things get interesting. It’s interesting because these two animals can kill each other. Chickens will eat anything that they find. And you can imagine how tasty a small fire ant will look for these birds. That’s why chickens will eat fire ants if they come across some.

But on the flip side, chickens are small enough that a colony of fire ants can severely hurt or even kill them. A lot of farmers have problems with fire ants invading their coops. Fire ants do this because they love eating the chicken’s leftovers. They are also attracted to broken eggs.

It’s very difficult for fire ants to kill a healthy adult chicken. So they don’t target them unless they get in the way of their food. The ones in danger are the young and the infirm. So if you keep chickens around, it’s best to keep them away from these venomous ants as a precaution.

Can Fire Ants Hurt/Kill Ducks?

Ducks are pretty much the same with chickens when it comes to the dangers of fire ants. Just like chickens, ducks will also sometimes munch on a few fire ants themselves.

The main difference is that ducks love water. Ducks spend a lot of time in lakes, ponds, or any source of water they can get. From the time that they hatch until they die, ducks will always look for water. That’s why ants aren’t going to bother them as much as chickens. Fire ants can’t swim, so they stay well away from water.

Nonetheless, it’s still a good idea to keep your ducks away from fire ants. It’s never safe to have colonies of fire ants near any of your animals. And ducks are not an exception.

Can Fire Ants Hurt/Kill Turtles?

Yes. This is one pet that you have to be very careful letting fire ants get to. Dogs and cats are bitten when they disturb fire ants, but turtles may be killed even while minding their own business. It’s so dangerous because the turtle’s main defense, their shell, isn’t very effective against fire ants. And fire ants see these reptiles as a good meal.

The good news is that turtles spend a lot of time in the water. This is why fire ants usually can’t get to them. But when they come to land, make sure they stay clear of fire ants and their mounds. If you don’t, fire ants can and will kill your turtle.

Can Fire Ants Hurt/Kill Cows?

For bigger animals, fire ants aren’t much of a threat. Like humans, cows don’t have to worry about these tiny insects harming them so much. Yes, their bites will hurt, and yes, their bites may cause itchiness and swelling. But these bites aren’t life-threatening to cows. You’ll need millions upon millions of fire ants to overwhelm a cow. Even newborn calves are too large to realistically be in danger of death by fire ants.

But as with humans, the story changes when your cow is allergic to ant bites. When cows are allergic to fire ants, their bites are so much more than painful. These bites can cause anaphylaxis, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, and on extreme cases, death.

Again, it’s very unlikely fire ants will kill your cows. But you need to be wary if your cows are allergic to these pests.

Can Fire Ants Hurt/Kill Plants?

Maybe your concern with fire ants has nothing to do with pets, but rather plants. Can fire ants kill your plants?

Yes. One of the worst things about fire ants is that they can be very destructive to plants. Whatever you’re growing, whether that be vegetables, flowers, or herbs, you want to make sure fire ants don’t come close. There are several ways that fire ants hurt and kill plants.

  • For one, fire ants eat seeds. This provides them with protein that they need to go on. That’s why they seek out and carry home any seeds they find lying around. That’s why if you’re wondering why your plants never sprout, it could be that the seeds have been carried away.
  • For plants that have already taken root, fire ants can still be a problem. Fire ants like to build tunnel systems underground. A lot of times, these tunnels go right through the roots of plants. This destroys the roots and kills the plant.
  • To make matters worse, ants also live in peace with other plant pests. They support and protect one another. Natural symbiotic relationships like these are often admirable. But not when it comes to pests. By keeping fire ants on your garden, you’re also helping other plant pests to thrive.

Finally, fire ants like gardens. They are attracted to the warmth, moisture, and food that your plants give them. That’s why they tend to go to your plants and, in so doing, destroy them.

Can Fire Ants Hurt/Kill Trees?

Fire ants are so destructive to plants, they can even hurt trees! Of course, fire ants can’t destroy a fully grown tree. But saplings and young trees are at high risk.

Again, fire ants will take away any seeds they find. They’ll also burrow underneath young trees and kill them. Aside from that, fire ants can also girdle trees. This will kill young trees that are not yet strong enough. It will rid them of their much-needed nutrients and not allow them to grow. What’s more, girdling will also expose roots and dry out the tree. Carpenter ants are also very good at damaging wood, find out more by reading What Can Ants Bite and Chew Through?

This is why it’s hard to grow trees when there are fire ants around.

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not check out our articles on What Can Ants Climb? This surprised me! and Are Ants Active at Night?

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page

Recent Posts