Jumper ants are recorded throughout Australia, but usually found in Tasmania, rural Victoria, NSW, ACT and the South East of South Australia. These ants typically cause local reactions – ie swelling and heat.followed by blistering rather like the picture below which shows the blistering and type of swelling that once can expect. However in a small number of cases – around 3% research indicates – the victims do go on to have a systemic or anaphylactic reaction.
The ant is 10-12mm long, jet black, but with yellow/orange limb extremities and pincers. It has a characteristic hopping motion and is sometimes called a hopper or jumber ant.. Nests are typically a pile of finely granular gravel near the nest. This may be a mound of 20-60cm in diameter but may also be inconspicuous such as under a rock.
The Jack Jumper is carnivorous and a scavenger. It grasps its victim with its pincers and stings with a modified ovipositor, analogous to that of other hymenoptera such as honey bees and wasps.
It would appear that the safest recourse for an ant allergic person is to avoid them by being very careful outside or by moving from their relatively limited geographical habitat. Otherwise protection and treatment is very similar to that recommended by for wasps and bees elsewhere in this site.
There has been considerable research and some progress for the development of a suitable venom extract for bulldog and jumper ant stings and we understand that there are now some clinics in Australia which offers this immunotherapy. However, due to the smaller number of patients and limited resources we understand that the venom extracts have not offered the same levels of success as those enjoyed by the fire ant allergic patients.