Do Ants Bite?

macro shot of an ant

What to do about it when they do!

Any seasoned traveler knows that adventures can sometimes be uncomfortable. If you’re unlucky like my partner and I were on the island of Nevis, you might stumble upon a fire ant nest. So, should you bother a nest of ants, here is what to do about the ant bites they leave behind.

Most of these tricks can be easily done from the comfort of your hotel/Airbnb/hostel room as well if you’re abroad.

red ants walking on green leaf. This article describes what to do about ant bites.
Photo by Thang Cao on

Ice, Ice Baby

Probably the easiest way to negate the itchiness of ant bites is to apply ice. If you have access to actual ice, wrap it in a washcloth or t-shirt and put it on your bite. Do not use heat, the cold will reduce any swelling as well as the pain and itches.

If you don’t have access to ice, try a cold, damp washcloth. It’ll help you in the same ways ice will.

Take An Allergy Med

When it comes to reducing swelling, a good ol’ allergy medicine will be your best friend. I always pack antihistamines anyway, but if that’s not a habit for you it might be a good idea to start. Allergy medications help with ant bite symptoms as well as all kinds of creepy-crawly bites.

Essentialize Those Oils

Essential oils are trendy, I get it. (And no, I promise this isn’t an MLM pitch) Even so, there are some oils that really come in handy with bug bites (among so many other things) when you’re traveling. Slather any kind of bug bite, ants included, with peppermint, tea tree, lavender, chamomile, or lemongrass oil to relieve the itching sensation and maybe even reduce redness. Some folks recommend camphor oil too-I just don’t like how it smells.

(Don’t forget these oils need to be under 3 oz and in your liquids bag if you travel carry-on only.)

Neosporin to the Rescue

When all else fails, Neosporin will save you from a world of hurt/discomfort. Plus it’s usually easy to find, even abroad, so that makes it a great go-to for all your bug bite-related needs.


Published by Amanda Finn

Founder of Dream Suitcase, Amanda Finn is an award-winning travel, theater and lifestyle journalist.

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