Why Do Red Ants Bite People but the Black Ants Don’t?

Ants are tiny creatures that can be very troublesome sometimes. Most of the ants you’ll come across will be black ants. But if you happen to see a red ant wandering around your house, don’t have the rushed idea of touching it, because you will learn the hard way how red ants bites can be very painful.

Just like red ants, black ants will also bite in form of self-defense, but the reds can do maximum penetration in their bites, and that alone is enough to give people a comprehensive amount of pain. Blacks on the other hand don’t have enough strength in their bite to cause pain to humans.

Both species will bite and spray acid on the wound, but it happens that red ant venom will burn your wounded skin and will make really feel it.

Reasons Red Ants Bite People but the Black Ants Don’t

  • Red ants will try to defend themselves against any posing threat that will defy them.
  • Black ants will also defend themselves against humans, but their bite will not be noticeable at all.
  • Red ants deliver a high amount of formic acid while they bite and that will burn in an open wound.
  • Black ants are less aggressive and will only bite if they are startled by something or someone.
  • Black ants bite us all the time but we only feel slight discomfort, others will feel nothing at all.

Are Red Ants Bites Harmful in Any Way?

These insects are not harmful, we can even go a step further and say that red ants are not an aggressive specie towards humans. But, what happens is, that some people are allergic to red ant venom, and it may result in an allergic reaction. Usually, the signs are tongue swelling, difficulty breathing, and throat closing up.

What Is the Difference Between Red Ant and Black Ant?

The main and most obvious difference is their color. The red ants come in many color variations while the blacks stick to the darkened tone in the majority of their species.

Red AntsBlack Ants
Size< than half an inch1.5 mm – 2 inch
TemperamentVery aggressive towards prey.Non-aggressive.
LifespanWorkers up to six months, queens from 2 to 6 years.5 years or even more depending on certain conditions.
Preferred HabitatsSunny and open areas like golf courses, playgrounds, meadows, and many other grass areas.Inside homes, under rocks, under logs, grassy lawns, gardens, cement cracks, and other shelters.
Bite StrenghtStrong and PainfulMedium-Strong and Painless

Other Differences than Bites Between Red Ants and Black Ants

  • Red ants pose a threat to living things contrary to black ants, they will bite everything in their path.
  • There are approximately 24 species of black ants, and none of them are considered aggressive or violent like red ants.
  • Both red and black ants are omnivorous but while blacks include a lot of vegetables and fruits in their meals, reds go more after spiders, earthworms, and other insects.

Why Do Red Ants Eat Dead Animals, but Black Ants Don’t?

Both ants species are opportunistic feeders, which means they will eat and bite any resource that appears in their way. This includes meat, plants, dead/live insects, and animals live or dead as well. As both red and black ants are scavengers, they are always searching for food to bring back to their nest and feed others in the colony.

Adult workers will need the most sugars and electrolytes in order to best perform their own duties. Sometimes adult ants will also feed on partially digested food and then later will regurgitate it to the larvae.

If anything on the floor has a nutritional value, both ant species will get it, and salvage much of what they can. A small frog can be fully cleaned to bones in under 16 hours.

Will Ants Eat Other Dead Ants?

Although ants feed on a lot of dead animals, ants will not eat other dead ants. They bury their dead so they can protect themselves against diseases. When ants die, their carcass also decomposes much like other dead animals.

In their diet, they will eat many things other than living things, ants can also be attracted to human sperm.

Why Do Black Ants Behave Differently Than Red Ants?

When comparing both ants species, red ants (or fire ants) bite with their mouths to hold the prey, and then they sting and inject them with toxins. Black ants will bite and spray the wound of their prey.

Red ants can be extremely aggressive, they can attack live quail, lizards, songbirds, and frogs. While black ants will search more for the opportunity of dead animals.

Do Red Ants Hate Black Ants?

It’s not a matter of hate, but a red ant will absolutely attack and bite a black ant and will use it as food. Although black ants don’t inject poison, they can destroy red ones by biting them. They even are able to go after fire ant queens who aren’t laying eggs yet.

Are Red Ants More Aggressive Than Black Ants?

Red ants bitting is much more aggressive than black ants. They will not pose a threat or risk to your home, but if you are dealing with red ants, things might get ugly. Fire ants sting may leave you with intense burning pain and some rashes. This is due to the toxin injected by their sting when they bite.

Pro tip: Ants can be hiding on your desk, and this is why! 😲😖😖😖

Which Ants Are Stronger Black or Red?

Both ants species have similar strengths and weaknesses, reds have a slightly different method for killing while comparing to blacks. Reds will lock their prey and sting them to death, while blacks will tear them apart with their bites.

When encountering them in the wild, red ants are much more dangerous to humans than black ants. They mark their territory and colony surroundings with a lot of red ants. Black ant colonies are usually hidden under structures and the natural environment.


As you can see both red ants and black ants will bite their threats regardless of their size or species. Next time you encounter them be sure to have the right approach and know-how to pick up your ant battles. You’ll end up regretting that, deeply, as a red ant bite.