Not all ants are just nuisances that like to get into the crumbs we accidentally forgot to sweep up in the kitchen. Some ants also have a venomous sting that can cause severe pain. Learn more about these tiny creatures that pack the most painful stings.

Bullet Ant

Image via Flickr by Dick Culbert

Even though the bullet ant is only an inch long, it still has what many people describe as the most painful insect bite in the world. In fact, the bullet ant gets its name because people who have suffered from its bite say it feels like getting shot with a bullet. Bullet ants mostly live in the trees in the rainforests of South America and will attack if they feel threatened. If one happens to land on you, hold your breath. Some people say they’ll attack if you breathe on them.

Maricopa Harvester Ant

While you can find Maricopa harvester ants in the western United States, including Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and Texas, you certainly don’t want to mess with them. They have what many scientists say is the most toxic venom in the insect world. These ants are around one-quarter to one-half inch long and red or dark brown in color. While their sting is so lethal it can take down a 4-pound animal in just 12 stings, they’re usually reluctant to attack and will only do so if they feel threatened.

Bullhorn Acacia Ant

The bullhorn acacia ant is around one-eighth inch in length with an orange or brown body and large eyes. The ant makes its home in bullhorn acacia trees in South America, and it will aggressively protect its home from any creature it perceives as a threat. Those who have had the unpleasant experience of brushing by a bullhorn acacia tree inhabited by this ant say it has a sharp and piercing sting.

Fire Ant

A single fire ant sting isn’t incredibly painful. However, the problem with fire ants is that just one ant rarely ever stings you. Originally from South America, these tiny red ants have stowed away on cargo ships and are now invasive pests in China, the Philippines, Australia, and the United States. Fire ants like to make their nests in open areas, so pay close attention to where you’re stepping as you walk through lawns and fields. They’ll also build nests under objects such as rocks, logs, and bricks.

Bulldog Ant

Fossil evidence suggests the bulldog ant was once spread around the world. However, today you’ll only find this particular species in Australia. The ants will range from five-sixteenths of an inch to over an inch in length; come in varying shades of black, red, and brown; and have stingers laced with venom. They like to make their nests in sandy ground and will aggressively attack any intruder.

If you find yourself in an area of the world where these ants happen to reside, you probably want to watch where you’re walking so you don’t discover first-hand how painful these ant stings are.