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It is a bright sunny day outside, and you’re enjoying an early Saturday morning in the garden, throwing compost around your flowers and pulling up the weeds growing in your asparagus bed. Just as you dig your hands into the fertile dark soil around a tomato plant, you suddenly feel a stinging sensation that quickly grows into piercing pain. As you pull your hand back from the soil you find hundreds of tiny red ants quickly colonizing every square inch of your hand and forearm. By the time you eventually are able to shake and brush the intruders off, your arm is pimpled with dozens of painful, quickly-swelling red marks where the fire ants bit you.

This is an experience that almost all of us have had sometime during our life. Whether choosing the rock to sit on during a hike in the forest, or accidentally stepping on a fire ant hill at the beach, fire ant bites can hurt. For people who suffer from allergic reaction to insect bites, fire ant bites can be dangerous and cruel.

Fortunately, there are number of essential oils for fire ant bites that can offer quick and soothing relief for even the worst fire ant attack. Below we explain what fire ants and how they fire ant bites can lead to moderately dangerous medical problems. Next, we will offer advice on the top seven essential oils for fire ant bites and where you can find them.

What Are Fire Ant Bites?

There are several species of fire ants in the United States, but the majority of these species that cause the greatest pain aren’t even supposed to be in the United States at all since they are not endemic to this continent. Scientists believe that these pesky insects were accidentally imported into the southern part of the United States from South America sometime in the 1930’s.  Nonetheless, these pesky little creatures have made a home here and can be found almost everywhere across the North American continent.

Fire ants build colonies that can contain upwards of 200,000 ants in a single colony. Their mounds can routinely be as high as a foot off the ground and are usually built in grasslands, lawns, and pastures. If you are unlucky enough to step into one of these mounds, you will quickly find that fire ants are extremely aggressive. Within seconds, thousands of ants will swarm up from the ground to protect their home for the intruder.

The pinching mandibles at the front of these ¼ of an inch creatures contains venom that causes the burning and painful sensation. The most common reaction to fire ant bites is a burning sensation that then begins to itch. It is also common for a pus-filled lesion to develop where the bites occurred.

In extreme cases where several bites happen, some people with strong allergies might develop anaphylaxis, a strong allergic reaction, which if not treated immediately, could be fatal. This reaction, however, is very rare and most people simply are left to deal with brief pain and a rather unsightly red bite wound that could possibly become infected from the itching that it causes.

Unless you suffer from extreme allergies to other types of insect bites such as bee stings, in all likelihood fire ant bites won’t cause you any sort life threatening danger. The prolonged burning and itching, however, can be irritating. Fortunately, there are a number of essential oils for fire ant bites that you can purchase to quickly assuage the burning sensation and get rid of any unsightly bite marks up and down your arms and legs.

There are several essential oils for fire ant bites, all of which are natural and organic remedies for one of nature’s most pesky insects. Below we look at seven of the top essential oils for fire ant bites.

7 Best Essential Oils for Fire Ant Bites

If you have ever purchased a commercially made bug-bite product from your local supermarket, chances are that you are familiar with the strong, pleasant smell of these products. The majority of commercial bug bite products contain large amounts of camphor, menthol, and/or clove oil. There are, of course, a number of other chemical ingredients in these products. However, camphor, menthol, and clove oil can all be found as essential oils for fire ant bites. Instead of purchasing a product that contains several, chemical-laden filler products, why not consider purchasing pure essential oils for fire ant bites?

Below we offer our suggestion for seven of the best essential oils for fire ant bites.

1. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil is one of the best essential oils for fire ant bites. Its main property is that it offers a cooling effect that can be felt almost immediately. It is best to apply this essential oil for fire ant bites as soon as possible after being bitten. You should find that almost immediately you will begin to feel a cooling sensation that is soothing. Additionally, the cooling sensation will help to limit the urge to itch your fire ant bites which could lead to pus-filled infections.

2. Chamomile Oil

Chamomile Oil is another great remedy to help relieve the burning and itching associated with fire ant bites. Like peppermint oil, chamomile oil also offers a quick cooling sensation to help alleviate the burning sensation. Of all the essential oils for fire ant bites, however, chamomile oil is unique in that it is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Putting chamomile oil on your fire ant bite is a great way to stop those bite marks from ballooning into pimple lookalikes.

3. Calendula Oil

Calendula oil has medicinal properties that are very similar to chamomile oil. It is also a known anti-inflammatory so it can be used to stop inflammation from fire ant bites. You should choose this essential oil for fire ant bites if you don’t like the smell of chamomile which can tend to be rather strong.

4. Lavender Oil

Not only is lavender oil great smelling, it is also great for your skin in a number of ways. It can help to smooth your skin and also offers a rich lubricating property that is helpful for people with dry skin. Additionally, lavender oil is also one of the best essential oils for fire ant bites. Not only will it reduce the itchiness and the redness, but it is also reported to repel fire ants. If you have a few fire ants hidden in the waste of your pants or up your sleeves, the smell of lavender oil will be sure to scare the away before more bites occur.

5. Rosemary Oil

There is nothing quite as pleasant as walking through your herb garden, lightly brushing up against your rosemary plant, and smelling the refreshing aroma of rosemary permeating throughout your garden. It turns out that rosemary oil is also one of the top essential oils fore fire ant bites. Rosemary oil has several different uses, but it is also known to stop the itching and burning from fire ant bites. It can also be used together with other essential oils for fire ant bites for severe cases.

6. Tea Tree Oil

The essential oil from the tea tree is a favorite among people who like using essential oils for several health related purposes. Tea tree oil is known to be effective against several different bacteria. This great product can be used for more than simply treating an upset stomach, however, as it is one of the top essential oils for fire ant bites. Furthermore, this oil can be used directly on the skin without any sort of dilution for maximum effect.

7. Thyme Oil

If you like the smell of an Italian pasta cooking on the stove, thyme oil will most likely you remind you of your grandma’s spaghetti or your favorite pizza shop. Not only does this oil smell great, but it is also a great essential oil for fire ant bites. Like lavender oil, this essential oil is also a great repellent, so you might want to put some on your pant legs before heading out for a hike in the woods as well.

Any one of these fantastic essential oils for fire ant bites is a great tool to help relieve the serious burning, itching and swelling that often accompanies a fire any bite. You can also combine several of these oils together. One great combination would include a few drops of peppermint oil for cooling, a few drops of chamomile oil to reduce inflammation, and some rosemary oil to keep the other fire ants away.

About Author

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Tobias Roberts is a writer and permaculture farmer based in the mountains of El Salvador. He runs a natural building cooperative in the Central American region as well as a diversified permaculture orchard.