Fire Ants attack my left leg in masse

My husband and I unknowingly disturbed a Fire Ant nesting area. We ended up with Fire Ants crawling up our legs in masse.

How did this happen?

We went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and stayed at our favorite hotel: Cabana Shores. The ocean is right across the street. As you return from the beach, there is an outdoor shower nozzle attached to a pole that you can use to wash away the sand.

On the first night of our trip, my husband complained about pain between his toes after using this shower. We did not know what to make of this and promptly forgot about it.

The next day, we both spent quite a bit of time sitting on the edge of the ocean, letting the water wash over the bottom half of our body again and again. Since I am extremely sun-sensitive and prone to sunburn, I wore calf length pants and a tee-shirt. Needless to say, I was covered with sand. My husband held the string to keep the water going and helped me wash off the majority of sand.

It was then that we noticed that both of our legs were covered with crawling ants. There were probably about fifty ants or more on each of us. We rushed to our hotel room. He jumped into the shower, bathing suit and all and ran hot water over his suit and body. He washed as multiple ants were washed down the drain.

In the meantime, I was stripping off my clothes, attempting to wipe ants off of me as they bit or strung or whatever it was they were doing to me. It hurt like fire. Later on, it itched like crazy.

The housekeeper came in while I was in the shower. She gave us a plastic bag to wrap our clothes in as my pants were still covered with ants.  I had some Aloe Vera lotion that I rubbed on my legs to relieve the burning sensation.

The next day, I had red welts all up and down my legs. The day following that, the red welts looked like overgrown puss-filled pimples. See the illustration of my lovely left leg.

As we drove back to our home in Tennessee that same day, we stopped at a pharmacy. The pharmacist recommended Neosporin to help take care of the infection. The good news is that it does not hurt or string any more. It just looks really gross.

Once I had access to my home computer, I Googled the topic. From what I read, the swelling will go down in a few days; however, it might leave a scar.

I also discovered the following from  Fire ants both bite and sting. How do they do that? According to this site, Fire ants “grasp the skin with their mandibles to anchor themselves.” Then they “insert their sting.”

No wonder it hurt like fire. They were doing both to me.

Visit this website to see their slideshow of what the bites look like over a progression of one hour to 24 hours to 72 hours to one week to one month. Oh, joy!

Nevertheless ...

In spite of the attack of the Fire Ants, my husband and I had a wonderful time on our 3-night vacation.

Fire Ants attacked my left leg at Myrtle Beach - These bites are 2 days old

Fire Ants attacked my left leg at Myrtle Beach - These bites are 2 days old
Fire Ants attacked my left leg at Myrtle Beach - These bites are 2 days old | Source

Bite Me with Dr. Mike - New Series Preview 1

Red Fire Ants

Ants create a lifeboat in the Amazon jungle - BBC wildlife


Fire Ant Attack after 1 week

Update. After getting attacked by the Fire Ants on Thursday, April 21st, I had to go to the doctor on Tuesday, April 26th. My throat felt like it was closing up a bit, and I developed a bad cough. It may or may not be related to the 50 or so stings and bites I sustained.

The doctor prescribed:

1) Prednisone 10 mg. It is a Steroid pack. You take 6 pills the first day, 5 pills the second day, 4 pills the third day, 3 pills the fourth day, 2 pills the fifth day, and 1 pill the sixth day.

2) Cephalexin 500 mg. I take one pill three times a day.

It is helping some.

As of yesterday, April 27th, as the bites and stings are healing, they now itch like crazy. My husband had trouble sleeping as he was itching so bad. I had been using Neosporin; however, that was ceasing to be all that helpful. I found myself scratching like crazy.

We went to the K-Mart Pharmacy today. The pharmacist recommended an over-the-counter itch relief lotion called Smart Sense, Clear Anti-Itch Lotion. It seems to be helping.

My skin looks like the star constellations. I had a lot more stings and bites than i first realized. Hopefully, I will not scar.

I hope you all remain safe from insect attacks. They are not a whole lot of fun.

My husband commented that it did rather color our vacation. Instead of mostly dwelling on the happy times we had, we are having our minds gravitate to the bites and stings. Nevertheless, I am still glad we went.

Hopefully, this hub will help other people be more aware so that they can stay safe, and we can stay safe in the future. 

Fire Ants bites at the 3-week point

Fire Ants bites at the 3-week point
Fire Ants bites at the 3-week point | Source

More by this Author

Comments 8 comments

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Oh my gosh Debbie poor you.

I hope that you did manage to enjoy a little of your holiday, though after reading and watching the video clips I am not sure if you could have.

However the positive is that many more may be warned about these ants after reading this.

Will be aware and take the appropriate creams etc with them.

Welcome back anyway Debbie, I was looking forward to your scenic photos but wasn't prepeared for these.

I can remember about four years ago me and Dai went to Corfu and Dai was bitten by mosquitos. I thought that I had escaped their grasp but as soon as I got home that is when they became apparent and talk about itching !!

I will never be haughty about anything again.

Thanks for sharing this one and take care


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

Oh, that looks so painful! I am so sorry your weekend had to end like that! But you must be a tuff lady since you thought you had a wonderful time, even though I imagine that you mean before the attack from fire ants.

Thanks for this hub. You might have saved others from being attacked and you have certainly enlightened me about the existence of these ants.I hope I will never see them up close!


Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image

Ask_DJ_Lyons 5 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee Author

Thanks so much, Eiddwen and Tina. I actually went to the doctor today. She gave me some steroid pills to take for a few days. My throat is raw and I can barely talk. I am not sure the two are connected; however, given that I went through chemo a year ago, it might be. But nevertheless, I did have a great time at the beach. I am not one to let something like that get me down. I did want to warn people though.

Best wishes to you both,


Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image

Ask_DJ_Lyons 5 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee Author

Thank you for your kind comment, wilrhoades. Yes, it was painful at the time. Thankfully, other than a few scars, I am totally over it.

Best wishes to you,


penny 3 years ago

wholly cow, I only got bit by one red ant, pretty sure afterwards it was a fire ant, my repercussions have been horrible. My toe is still black with scabs and at one point my foot didn't even look like a foot. and no doubt I will be sporting scars on that one toe, second toe by the way, have a check up on it in the morning. apparently I am now very allergic, after being bit on my ankle a couple months ago. my doc said my reaction would get worse every time. Do I need like a epi pen? What I think was a massive amount of Kelflex is messing with my body as well. 2000 mg. a day for ten days...

Ana 23 months ago

Hi FredWith or without PSE&G sooisprnng the luncheon those lines will be built. They will be built with or without approvals from the BPU as well. PSE&G has skipped the local municipal process because, rightly so, it is useless. How many elected officials would take an objective look at the real issues knowing many voters are upset. The idea of conducting informational meetings in all towns affected is fine. It is also always good form to listen to concerns and address issues presented. Again, to think that any town would publicly endorse this project is pure nonsense. Now while the BPU is being represented as the approval entity the reality is they to could very easily by bypassed and over ruled by the federal agencies. So this brings me to the nagging question in Montville Township as I sit as a township Committee member. Why don’t towns focus on the safety concerns and clear cutting issues? Even PSE&G has stated they are willing to take EMF measurements to bench line EMF on the existing 230KV line. Of course my 2 cent opinion is our BPU should mandate these measurements for all towns and force PSE&G to document the test equipment and methods used as well as taking those measurements in the summer months when usage is at its highest. The reality is that the possibility does exist the EMF levels could be lower with the new transmission line because some of the EMF would cancel out since two transmission lines will be operating on the same towers.Art Daughtry

Espn 23 months ago

What a great recurose this text is.

SHaldy 23 months ago

Hi, FredThe words acclaimed frnrtnunoer' and Chris Christie' together make an oxymoron. His speech was lack-luster and the only thing he could come up with is that he would only run for the first term. He couldn't get out of there fast enough. Something about a basketball game. (The parents in our family usually team on this one)Rick Merkt is ok if you like a mixed Republican candidate. Current legislator=part of the problem in Trenton.Levine may need a little more time in public speaking he had trouble with the word success it came out as sex and got a great laugh. He had some ideas on the budget but only counted his being a CPA as the way to bring NJ out of its fiscal mess.The only real clear candidate is Steve Lonegan. Steve arrived early to meet and greet. Best presentation without notes, fully covering where NJ is, the issues du jour, and a full-throttle approach to the future of New Jersey and the taxpayers who fund it. Steve showed that he is ready to hit the ground running. His commitment [and successful campaigns against pork-laden bills on the last state ballot] for the taxpayers of NJ these past few years show that he knows exactly what we need.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Anti-Itch Lotion

    Aveeno Anti-Itch Concentrated Lotion, 4-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 3)
    Aveeno Anti-Itch Concentrated Lotion, 4-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 3)

    Aveeno Anti-Itch Concentrated Lotion is a fast acting soothing Itch relief for: of: poison ivy; oak; sumac; insect bites; allergic itches; chicken pox rash. Dermatologist recommended.

    Click to Rate This Article