fireant stingers in skin

My sister said she was stung by fire ants when she lived in Texas. She has been out of Texas for almost 6 months now. She claims that the fire ants left their stingers in her legs. She says she is still removing the stingers. Is the so? Do the fire ants leave their stingers in their victims when they sting, and if so,would they still be in her legs after all this time?

Fireants are similar to wasps in that they have stingers which can deliver a toxin which can irritate the skin. As explained in our FIREANT CONTROL ARTICLE, they are able to sting over and over like wasps because their stinger does not “release” or stay in the skin. This does happen with many species of bees, like honey bees, because their stinger is barbed like a fish hook. But fireants do not have this barb so it’s generally not going to happen. This is also why they are such a menace; their ability to sting over and over is one of their strong points making them more of a problem when encountered since they have a never ending stream of stings that even one ant is able to inflict.

Now could a fireant stinger get lodged in her skin? Yes. But is it likely that more than one would at the same time? No. And even if one did, it would quickly break down and disappear within a few days and not be present after 6 months.

My guess is that she has some other insect sting lodged in her skin or maybe even some type of plant. There are many briar type plants which have barbed tips which enable them to both pierce the skin and remain lodged under it for some time. The list of possibilites is too long for this post. And if she is still being bothered at this time she needs to go visit a dermatologist who will be able to remove any foreign matter that’s present as well as provide some kind of ointment which would make any discomfort manageable.