Sunday, May 15, 2005

Southern Living

One of the joys of living in the South is torturing fire ants.

If you don't know what fire ants are, please consider yourself most fortunate. If you believe you've been bitten by one, in reality you probably haven't. Something else got you.

Fire ants don't live in cute little ant hills. They build subterranean condominiums called mounds and often, you won't even know that you've accidentally stepped on one. You don't feel the silent, sneaky little bastards . . .

. . . crawling by the hundreds into your shoes, inside your socks, up your pants legs until a myserious signal is sent and as one, they all attack at the same exact instant.

Each bite feels like an individual injection of acid.

And fire ants don't stop biting.

If you see a big macho man down here running in circles, ripping off his clothes screaming "Jesus!" while sobbing for his mother . . .

. . . it's fire ants.

Each bite then swells and within a day or so begins to develop a little pocket of pus.

Each one also ITCHES.


So you scratch and keep scratching ‘til you bleed, the welt scabs over and then starts filling up again.

There all kinds of products on the market with guarantees that IT will kill fire ants. Some even make the claim it will kill the queen.

Kill the queen, kill the mound. Right?

Nah. The best you can hope for is she gets ticked off enough to move her horde into your neighbor’s yard. Unfortunately, your neighbors are also trying to chase theirs into yours.

Even "professional" treatment claims maybe a year before they’re back.

I discovered a new product this year that I really like. The label guarantees it will kill fire ants, and it does! No, it doesn’t eliminate the mounds nor does it claim it will. The instructions on every other product I’ve ever tried said not to disturb the mound during the application process. This one, on the other hand, says after dumping their powder on the mound, to stir it up! Get those ants moving!

Shortly after the angry ants come into contact with this wonderful dust, they begin to twitch. Then stagger. Next, the ants begin clumping together, clutching each other, as they slowly die.

Horribly I hope. The thought fills me with joy.

I cackle madly.

There is hope, however, for those like me who wage a constant, futile battle against fire ants.

One possibility involves a recently-discovered virus that scientists say could be fatal to fire ants.

The other one is a pinhead-size fly and it's much more my style.

The ant senses a split second of unease when a fly deposits an egg in one of the small tubes the ant uses to breathe.
Three weeks later, the inside slowly devoured by the phorid fly's larvae, the fire ant’s head falls off!


(Miami Herald sign-in: / herald)


Blogger Jenna said...

Shortly after the angry ants come into contact with this wonderful dust, they begin to twitch. Then stagger. Next, the ants begin clumping together, clutching each other, as they slowly die.

And what is the name of this most wonderful dust? Because I've got a mound or two (dozen) that I'd love to treat, then dance around in a macabre manner, rejoicing in the deaths of those little bastards.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Norma said...

Fireants are the reason my brother, who lives in Bradenton, only golfs in Illinois.

3:00 PM  
Blogger doyle said...

Jenna: [W]what is the name of this most wonderful dust?


I get it by the canister at a hardware / feed store.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Ray said...

AMDRO. Works pretty good for me, and I'm eat up with the brutes.

7:55 PM  
Blogger doyle said...

AMDRO is good but like all the others, it's only a temporary fix.

Besides, by now I've got my own suspicions about what fire ants really do with all those granules they scurry back into their mound with.

Eat ‘em and die? Are you kidding?

They use them as construction material for better, more spacious digs.

By the time the mound you've treated is "dead," two more have sprung up.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

This post gave me the shivers.

Anyway, I tagged ya...go see my music meme!

1:36 AM  
Blogger PJ said...

Lord. I think I itch now. Like, every inch of me itches. And NOW IT'S STARTING TO STING.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Did you see CSI's season finale? Nick got buried alive, and fire ants got into the coffin with him.

<me running from the room, screaming with sympathy pains>

10:24 AM  
Blogger doyle said...

Jenna, running from the room screaming with sympathy pains: AAAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEIIIIIIIII!!!!!

You'd need to run faster to catch up with me.


4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys should try this new product. I tried it and it worked great. It's MAX from Ortho and it killed off all the ants in a few days and they haven't come back. You spread it all over your lawn. The label promises a year of control. I'll let you know in 12 months if it worked!

5:27 PM  

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