Asian Needle Ants: What to Know as Insect With Painful Sting Is Seen in Indiana

Asian Needle Ant, or Brachyponera chinensis
harum.koh/Creative Commons

The Asian needle ant has been seen in southern states, but only recently spotted in the north.

The Asian needle ant has been found in Indiana for the first time, according to Timothy Gibb, a Purdue University entomologist.

The ant has been seen in the south over the years, but was recently discovered in the Evansville, Indiana, area, which is the furthest north the ant has been spotted, Gibb told the Indy Star

The Asian needle ant is the first ant in Indiana that has a stinger and venom sac, Gibb said.

"Other ants will bite, but this is really new," he said to the outlet. 

The entomologist said that while he does not want Indiana residents to panic, he is hoping that folks are aware of the potential danger the ant holds.

"It can be lethal," he said. "In most cases, it's just going to hurt like crazy."

According to Gibb, people who are hyper-allergic to stings from insects like bees or wasps should be prepared, such as keeping an EpiPen handy.

In addition to the Asian needle ant being in woodland and outdoor areas, they can also infest homes, increasing its ability to survive the state’s cold winter temperatures by protecting it from the extreme cold, putting them "in close proximity with people," Gibb said.

The Asian needle ant is native to areas of Asia, but sightings have been documented in Georgia, KentuckyNorth Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Some believe it may have also been spotted in Alabama and Tennessee

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