A couple of evenings ago SU was watching a television show about insects and one of the topics was bullet ants. As he told me the next morning, these particular ants were filmed in Venezuela, but given Panama’s close proximity to Venezuela he was curious as to whether those same ants could also be found here. For some reason I am the resident “Google” expert and I was tasked with finding out this information.
Yes, indeed I reported, bullet ants (hormigas bala) can be found in Panama. SU has a propensity of getting stung by any matter of bee, wasp or ant around the house and garden. I let him stew for a few seconds before I told him they are only found deep in the jungle, setting his mind somewhat at ease.
Inch-long bullet ants are one of the world’s largest ant species. With their large mandibles they can clamp on to prey or predators and then turn their abdomen to give a fiery painful sting at the same time. This is compared to being shot with a bullet and can cause trembling, nausea, and local short-term paralysis, but not sickness or death. Their thick exoskeletons protect them from predators and they are forceful hunters going after termites, wasps and other insects.
In today’s video, filmed deep in the Panamanian jungle, Steve Backshall, host of one of SU’s favourite shows, Deadly 60, allows a bullet ant to crawl over his hand. The experience brings back agonizing memories for Steve who has felt the might of their bite before…