For what its worth, ‘bulljoes’ as we kids called them were a constant menace in my childhood.
The schoolground folklore passed down to us from previous generations of kids was to break the stem of bracken fern and apply the sap to the bite.
I don’t know whether it really worked and maybe it was psychological but it seemed to work – maybe it gave you something proactive to do instead of crying, well, we boys didn’t cry at all of course, like the our sisters did, would have been to sissy, but
we had to work hard at pretending it didn’t hurt much.
Margaret Leggoe <>
Saturday, 13 December 2014 2:23 pm
Mark Clayton <>
Matthew Willis <>, chatline <m("canberrabirds.org.au","canberrabirds");">
Re: [canberrabirds] Birding/Outdoor Tip for the Day
Bull ants, apparently, are related to wasps and have a sting in the tail. So it depends on which end of the ant attacks you, how severe the bite. The sting in the tail is the one to be feared.
On Saturday, 13 December 2014, Mark Clayton <> wrote:
One thing that I always do, and I advise any overseas birders with me, is to always check where you are standing if you stop when out birding. The
last time I managed to get zapped by a bull ant in the bush was near the Victorian border south of Eden in about 1977. However I did get stung through my jeans while pulling weeds in what passes for a garden at home in October this year. The nest was under
a rock and I must have created enough of a disturbance for about 4 of the beasties to come charging at me (if you could call bull ants lumbering at you a charge). Unfortunately for me, and ultimately the bull ant, I didn’t see number 5 until it was too late
and I was stung on the back of my thigh. The results of the sting lasted about 2 weeks and did get slightly infected from all my scratching.
Many of the walking trails in Tidbinbilla nature Reserve are regular places to find bull ants and their smaller, but just as painful cousins, the
jumping ants. Any pile of small stones, especially if there is a hole or two in it, could be a potential nest so be wary. The Koala enclosure is a good spot for jumping ants.
A timely warning from Matthew.
My birding/outdoor photography tip for the day:
If you are at Campbell Park and decide to spend five minutes standing in the one place photographing cicadas - try and make sure you are not standing in the middle of a bull ant colony at the time.
The moment at which you realise 3 or 4 of them have crawled under your shirt and a similar number are on their way up your leg is not a nice one. Luckily, either the bites are not as painful as I remember from my childhood, or I was lucky
(the big itchy and moderately painful lumps that remain a few hours later are not ideal, though).
Still, saw some lovely birds and it was all worth it :-)