If you live in the muggy buggy South, you soon learn that insect repellant is as vital to survival as holy water is to Catholics. But, I have yet to find anything that repels wasps, hornets, bumblebees, and Satan’s Spawn…the mighty fire ant (Solenopsis xyloni). These demons are native to South America, and they can have them back. This is another reason we need immigration laws, but that is a topic for those who like to write political rants.
For the uneducated, mainly those lucky enough to live in Northern stars, fire ants build huge dinner plate sized, 10-inch high mounds over night. These mounds house at a minimum, 8 zillion biting, stinging demons who hate everybody and everything. If it moves, they sting it.
Having co-existed with these demons for 17 years, I know that woringk in my yard in anything less than a suit of armor is asking for trouble, but, but this week I ventured into the broiling 90 plus degree heat to pull weeds and trim back dying plants in my swimsuit and sandals. My reasoning was: This skimpy garb will allow me to take frequent dips in our pool which might spare me heat exhaustion, which by the way I have had twice this summer.
I was focused on cutting back dead plants, not where I was walking and my nearly bare foot stomped on a fire ant hill. In a flash hundreds of ants were on my feet and legs. These ants can’t be brushed off your body because they have pinchers in the front that hold on to your skin while their business end, the back end, injects a powerful venom into your body. They also can’t be drowned. When they attack, your skin feels as if it has been burned. Within seconds your skin is red, inflamed and covered with pus filled pockets of venom. Yes, I know this is too much information, but I want you to feel my pain.
For minutes I was a screaming whirling dervish, swatting my legs, diving into the pool, and cursing all insects.
Solutions for the pain: benedryl, vinegar, and strong adult beverages. None work for very long.
Solutions for the ants: Flame throwers, napalm, agent Orange, DDT, and better insect immigration laws.
If you have had an encounter with Fire ants, post your experience. Share the pain.