Asian Needle Ant spotted in Chesterfield County | News
CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT)- It's called the Asian Needle Ant and experts say it lives up to that name. For the first time, the ant has been officially spotted in Virginia, right here in Chesterfield County. Experts say that stinger looks lust like a hypo-dermic needle.
The ant is dark brown, almost black and it's only about 5 millimeters, but it's sting can be dangerous for anyone prone to insect allergic reactions.
"For the average person, they're probably not going to recognize this unless they move into the world of the ant," said Chesterfield Extension Agent Michael Likings.
The ant likes woods, moist areas, and doesn't usually invade homes but it can also live in landscaping like mulch piles.
Officials aren't saying exactly where the ants were spotted, but we do know it was in the Meadowbrook area of Chesterfield County and that some county employees were working to clear a ditch like this one, when the ants attacked.
"They inadvertently disturbed the nest," Likings explained. "They will if they're trapped between clothing and skin they'll do what they're programmed to do and that's sting."
In fact, one of the field staff members had to use an epi-pen.
"They will keep stinging you until they're out of venom," said Likings. "Even when the gun is empty they keep pulling the trigger."
Likings said they're not aggressive ants unless they're trapped: "Fire ants will come after you, the Asian needle ant will try to get away form you."
In other regions, the ant has driven out many other ant species in the community. While that might sound nice at first, it could actually mean a loss of plants over time.
Many plants rely on ants that carry seeds and the Asian Needle Ant does not do that.
From the extension office:
If you are stung, seek medical attention if you are known to be sensitive or suspect you might be sensitive to insect venom. You do not need to submit a sample of the insect to your primary care physician, but if you are interested in identifying this or other insects, contact your local extension office for instructions on submitting samples.
You can contact Chesterfield County's Extension Office: 804-751-4401.
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