chumley wrote:I always thought that different people have different reactions to different stings based on allergies and/or tolerances to the various venoms and irritants that are injected.
That's what I believe as well. I've been stung by a wide variety of bees, yellow-jackets, hornets and wasps on both the African and North American continents, but none came close to my ant experiences here in AZ.
I'm not familiar enough to know whether to call them red ants, fire ants, or whatever, but I've been bitten a number of times and stung multiple times on one occasion. One the whole I'd rather be bitten than stung.
For me the pain from ant bites
starts as a pin-prick but rises exponentially the longer the ants held on, eventually to the point where I was in a frenzy just to get them off me!
The last time was just over a week ago on Granite Mountain when somehow I got a mass of 5-6 ants under my gaiters and on my Achilles. It took some effort to get them all off and the pain by then was enough I could not continue standing. Right away I rubbed hydro-cortisone cream on the area but it was more a placebo than actually making a difference. It took a while before I could zone-out the pain enough to continue the hike. I had lingering pain for 3-4 days and even now, 8 days later I still have a raised red area on my Achilles. But again, nothing like the ant stings...
The one occasion in which I was stung
by a group of ants was the most painful and long-lasting experience I've ever had... it even topped getting my left pinkie finger sheared through.
Sometime back in 2008 if I recall, I was in the Bulldog OHV area setting up a tripod for some full moon shots over the Supes. About halfway on my 200 yard walk from the car to where I was going to set up I noticed a large ant-hill teeming with ants so I by-passed it by at least 40 feet. With the moon-rise still some time away I took my time doing some experimenting with different shots (this was very early in my HDR experimentation phase, albeit short-lived) and after about 30 minutes as I leaned forward, all-of-a-sudden I get this intense, mind-numbing pain from my feet that was so fierce it knocked me down. When I looked at my feet, there were red ants all over them, and again it was a frenzy to get them off as soon as possible. Then even though the ants were off me, the pain was no less and it took everything I could do to grab my camera and tripod and hobble back to the car, avoiding a line of ants all the way.
After the fact, I realized the ants had been on my feet and very likely one got under a sandal strap and when I leaned forward the strap pressed down on an ant and as they are known to do, it sent a signal to all the others to sting at the same time, which they did. As I mentioned above, the pain from this lingered longer than anything I have yet experienced. For over two weeks I had the constant feeling that something like large needles or even nails was sticking into each and every wound location. I slowly began to subside but it was a full 4 months before I had no pain at all. And even now, 4 years later I still have two red spots providing witness to the event.
What really blew me away at the time, was the ants sought me out! There were no noticeable ants anywhere in the 100+ yards between my car and the ant hill, nor were there any between the ant hill and where I set up another 100 yards farther. I only saw them within 25-30' from the entrance to the hill as I walked by leaving a good 10' between me and the closest ant. Yet in a matter of 30 minutes they had made a trail to the location where I was stung! And seeing that line of ants toward my location from the hill when I was hustling out of there, well, it was disconcerting to say the least.
And ever since I've been quite wary of and be careful to keep my distance from ants. And due to that fact, on my Granite Mountain hike I was very surprised because I had seen absolutely no ants wherever I stopped to take a photo, and I still wonder how a number of them got on together.
As far as I know, I don't have any particular allergies to certain bites/stings but again, for me the ants have been by far the most painful.