Dad left screaming in pain after swarm of fire ants attack him in park

A dad was left screaming in terror as pain pulsed through his body after a swarm of fire ants attacked while he was walking his dogs.

The unlucky dad had to be hospitalised when an ambulance rushed to his aide when the swarm of vicious insects sunk their teeth into his skin in Kent woodland.

James Bennett, 56, from Sittingbourne, said it felt like being "hit with darts" when the cloud of insects surrounded him while he was walking his pet pooches.

He woke up the next day to find that his arms, legs and stomach had ballooned way beyond their normal size after around a dozen stings pierced his flesh and he was rushed to hospital.

Medics said the puncture wounds were infected, and prescribed him bed rest and strong antibiotics.

After the incident, Mr Bennett warned others to be aware while out in the woodlands.

The grandad-of-two said: "I have never experienced anything like this in my life."

"I've had wasp stings before but this was different – it was like being hit by darts.

"They were quite persistent. I could feel stings all up and down my body and I just ran away as fast as I could."

"The next day three of the bites had completely blown up. I'm still swollen and bruised now, but I'm doing ok."

"I just want other people to be aware if they're out walking in the woods. Imagine if it had been a dog or a young child."

Mr Bennett was out walking his and wife Cherie's two dogs in a local park when he was attacked on Sunday.

He felt a sting on his ankle and was swarmed seconds later while he bent down to inspect the surprise pain.

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He described seeing a "haze of really small insects" but couldn't properly make them out. They then covered his leg and started biting him, an experience he says was like being "hit by lots of darts at once".

He said: "I couldn't see what was happening which was what made it so scary.

After sprinting away, he called his wife and rang 111 when they arrived at daughter Sam Bennett's house in Detling, near Maidstone.

When an ambulance arrived, they found 11 stings across his back, neck, legs, arms, ankles, wrist and stomach – and paramedics believed they were from fire ants.

He was able to go home that day but was rushed to hospital by Sam, 27, the following morning after waking up and finding his arms, legs, and stomach severely swollen.

He said: "I just want to make people aware that these things can happen and to be cautious."

European fire ants can be found in parts of England and Wales. Often referred to simply as 'red ants' — but more dangerous than the common red wood ant — they have a strong sting that can cause victims to come out with pus-filled blisters.

Symptoms of a more severe allergic reaction include trouble breathing, dizziness, and swelling of the throat.

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