Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fire Ants: Giving Regular Ants a Bad Name

"Sorry little ant," said me to the ant who froze as he saw me about to squish him on my kitchen floor, "but I just returned from fire ant territory. I have no mercy for you."

Before I went to Mississippi, the words "fire ants" conjured images of tiny red ants that you might run across in say, a crevice on one outside wall of your home. You know, somewhere you never go. El-wrongo.

The truth about fire ants: they are normal, small-ish ant size, and they are everywhere. Everywhere that there is grass-- in your yard, on the grass beside the road where you jog, in the graveyard-- you have ants. I think there is some poison you can put down, but that ain't good for kids and pets.

Fortunately, fire ants live in large mounds, so you can spot them. However, if you inadvertently step on one while wearing sandals, you are f#@%&! My nephew had 50 or so red pus-filled welts on his legs for a week after he stepped on an ant hill.

Ever since then, I'm on hyper alert in parks and yards. If grass is really really short, I'll walk on it in sandals, but I would NEVER walk in grass over 2 inches high in anything but sneakers, and even then, I would watch the ground constantly.

Taking a walk in the neighborhood? La la la, *GASP*- a 5 inch high mound that you know is filled with 1,000 biting ants! It's not like there's a specific danger ant area; it's everywhere.
Jogging in the park? *AUGH*!!! Leap sideways to avoid a food-wide ant estate.

That little quote in the intro? I actually said that out loud. Just me, home alone, talking to an ant.

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