Throughout the greater Blue Mountains region you’ll find both Bull Ants and Jumper Ants, both of which can cause you a deal of harm.
A bite for a Bull Ant or Jumper Ant will cause a great deal of pain and should not be taken casually, monitor the bite and the reactions of the person bitten and be prepared to seek urgent medical assistance. In Tasmania, a variety called Jack Jumper Ants causes a great deal concern with recorded deaths.
Check out this amazing video, showing a battle between a Bull Ant and a Redback Spider.
Bull ants are large, alert ants that can grow up to 40 mm They have characteristic large eyes and long, slender mandibles and a potent venom-loaded sting. They have superior vision, able to track and even follow intruders from a distance of 1 metre. Many species of bull ants have bright red or orange colours on the head or abdomen.
There are about 90 species of bull ants in Australia with diverse behaviours and life cycles. Nine bull ant species have been recorded in Sydney, but there may be more as yet undiscovered. Some of the smaller species are known as jumper ants after their habit of aggressively jumping toward intruders.
The major cause of anaphylaxis from ant stings is the Australian Jack Jumper ant (Myrmecia pilosula), a medium sized black bull ant most prevalent down the eastern side of Australia and Tasmania. It can be recognised by its characteristic hopping motion when it walks. It is a very aggressive ant and its sting can cause severe local pain. Information on Jack Jumper Ant allergy is available on the ASCIA website: www.allergy.org.au/patients/insect-allergy-bites-and-stings/jack-jumper-ant-allergy
Redback Spiders are found throughout Australia and are common in disturbed and urban areas.
Redback spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) belong to the Family Theridiidae, which is found worldwide. The notorious Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus sp) of the United States is a close relative of the Redback Spider, and only differs in appearance by the absence of a red dorsal stripe. Other species of Latrodectus occur in Africa, New Zealand (the Katipo), the Pacific Islands, Europe and North and South America.