The angry ants go marching

They say everyone is nicer in the south. And between the ‘bless your hearts’ and the homemade sweet tea, it’s hard to argue with them. But I’ll tell you one thing that’s not nice in the south. Fire ants.

Let me set the scene for you.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. 80 degrees and sunny. Finn and I had just come back from a trip to Lowe’s with a trunk full of mulch and flowers. Well the trunk was full of Finn and the backseat with mulch and flowers but that’s neither here nor there. Did you know you can bring your dog into Lowe’s with you? It’s good socialization for them so long as your dog does not have an affinity for wood products. If that’s the case, might I recommend avoiding the lumber aisles lest you want to spend the next 20 minutes worrying about splinters in your pooches’ nose?

Where were we?

Ah, yes. Bitchy fire ants.

When I was a kid I used to collect bugs. I collected rocks, wooden carved animals and neighborhood cats too but for the sake of this post let’s just stick with the bug catching. I had a net to grab them with and a special bug jar with the wire mesh on the sides and a nifty wood top that you turned to lock them in or let them free.

From lightning bugs to crickets, I loved trapping insects and watching them hop around while I got a closer look. Lightning bugs were my favorite except when they accidentally got stuck in the lid and you couldn’t get the smell off your hands. In the Midwest, ants represented everything from a gentle picnic pest to a topping for celery and peanut butter and a line in many a childhood song. And for the better part of the U.S., the title that we use to describe our parent’s sisters.

I never had a problem with ants and they seemed to like me too, those cute little harmless black ants.

So having this context in mind, imagine my surprise when the sweet little childhood pest I knew went rogue on me as I destroyed its home planted some beautiful flowers in our front yard Sunday evening.

gardening, florida, fire ants, flowers, lowe's

It started innocently enough. I was digging away at the ant hills using an old serving spoon when I realized that digging holes with a serving spoon may not have been the best idea (warning graphic finger blister photo below)

gardening, flowers, blister, florida,

But just as I was noticing the loss of skin on one hand, fire ant number 1 dive bombed the space between fingers on my left hand with his vicious little teeth. Further research would indicate he likely used some sort of stinger as well.

fire ants, florida, gardening,

But he did not act alone. I’m learning that they never do these mean little ants of the south. He tag-teamed with his buddy and nearly simultaneously got me in the same spot on my foot.

Go for the spot between her fingers and toes Archie*. That’ll teach her!

*names of the ants have been changed to protect their identities.

And teach me it did.

It taught me what it might feel like to be bitten by a mosquito, stung by a bee and touched by poison ivy all at once. And in the 48 hours that follows develop arthritic like symptoms in the extremities that were stung.

It taught me the importance of gardening gloves.

It taught me that a desperate 4 a.m. Google search will lead you to a concoction of baking soda and apple cider vinegar that can provide temporary relief.

fire ant remedy, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, fire ant treatment

It taught me how nice my ant friends to the north are. Shout out Midwestern ant colonies!

It taught me how my ring might fit if I’m lucky enough to carry a child in the coming years. Answer: very tightly.

It taught me the importance of having an adequate supply of Benadryl in the house.

It taught me a new way to use Matt’s whiskey rocks.

fire ants, florida, gardening,

And most importantly, it taught me that I’m going to need more than three bags of mulch, 8 flowers and several days worth of Benadryl to finish this war.

gardening, florida, fire ants, flowers, lowe's

 

until next time!

 

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3 thoughts on “The angry ants go marching

  1. Mike Murphy March 10, 2015 at 10:55 pm Reply

    Hang in there. What r the municipal authorities doing to help?

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. Jane Brownback March 11, 2015 at 10:08 am Reply

    Wow! I feel your pain! And I appreciate your wit, writing, and style! Keep up the great work. Hugs, love and more!

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