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Great Balls of Fire Ants

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).fireants 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.ant bites 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.

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Toxins: For the Yard and the Sicilian

poisons

Just bought these items today. Does this look like over kill? Not if you live in the deep South. No self-respecting southern gardener or person who has a severe allergic reaction to wasps and fire ants stings, would ever let their supply of toxic chemicals be depleted. As for the 20 pounds of fungus killer, in case your TV has been turned off the last two weeks so you could be spared the political fecal tossing, you might not be aware that south Louisiana received 6-24 inches of rain depending on where you live. Thankfully we were in the 6 inch area and did not flood, but our lawn is now a mass of dead grass. Fungus.

dead lawnThis morning I noticed spots of green in the huge brown areas in our lawn. Silly me, I thought the grass was recovering. Nope, just the impossible to kill button weeds and chamberbitter staking their claim to my dying lawn.  If the rain falls on the just and the unjust, then it seems logical to me that this fungus should kill the weeds as well as the grass.  But that is not the case.  So another round of toxins will be necessary to salvage our lawn. And yes, I have registered our lawn as a biohazard with the EPA, but when it comes to reducing bugs per square inch, more is more. There is no such thing as moderation. You slack off, they attack.

walt's foodAs for this stockpile of junk food I bought this morning, that is for the Sicilian. I’m escaping this 95 degree heat which has equal humidity to visit a friend in the Pacific Northwest soon. Spot and the Sicilian have to fend for themselves. Spot eats the same diet of dry kibble every day, so, no problem there, and the Sicilian is capable of cooking; he did it for many years while raising his son. But, now they both have high cholesterol as every item he cooked required a stick of butter because he subscribed to the comment a favorite chef of his made: ” If you put enough cream or butter on it, people will eat tires and beg for more.”

I on the other hand believe all things in moderation, with the exception of the aforementioned bugs. To save the Sicilian a trip to the grocery while I am gone, which might result in an astronomical charge on the credit card for junk food, I bought him a reasonable supply of high cholesterol, high sugar, and high sodium food. These toxins should keep him happy while I am gone.  As for the bugs and fungus, I’m not so sure.

Final thought: I’ve heard as golfer age, they try to shoot their age. Today the Sicilian and his friend played a round of golf  and their score was the same as the temperature, 93.  I wonder if they will do as well when it is 74 outside?