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Can Black Ants Bite?

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Of the two dominant types of ants in the United States, red fire ants are the most aggressive and dangerous. While black ants may be more docile, they can still defend their colonies using their powerful jaws.

Carpenter Ants

The black carpenter ant is the most common species of black ant in America, although many varieties exist within this group. They lack the powerful sting of their red cousins, but if threatened, they can deliver painful bites. The jaws of the black ant evolved to cut through wood and tough plant fibers, allowing them to dig deep into skin. Their jaws deliver a small amount of formic acid to produce a long-lasting burning effect. The bite of a black ant may not be as painful as a red ant’s sting, but it can still prove an effective deterrent against a predator.

Other Species

Not all stinging ants are red, however. The pavement ant and the black imported fire ant are two species both black in color that have the stinging ability of red fire ants. They tend to be less aggressive than red ants but will attack en masse to defend themselves and may cause allergic reactions in susceptible victims.