Before we moved to Texas we did a lot of reading about this state. A lot of our reading pertained to real estate, schools, history, attractions, et cetera. One of the items that stuck out in our minds was the problem of fire ants.
It has been months since I did that reading but it left a lasting impression on my mind. Those feisty pests originated from regions far South of our border. Over time these insects have migrated north and are common in Texas. It has been a relentless march. Their invasion has a solid foothold in our country.
After a rain, when the sun pops out and the morning of the next new day makes its entrance, evidence of these critters and their nests abound. Piles of sand, characteristic of these ant mounds, spring up in all of our yards. We have learned to spot them and then act immediately to fight them.
One of those fire ant nests appeared in our flower garden. The mound was eight inches high and five inches in diameter. I took a long handled hoe and pushed the pile over with one swift motion, taking care to stand far away.
It was as if a science fiction movie was playing on my front yard. Scores of these angry ants swarmed out of the pile. They scurried around furiously looking for something to attack.
This site gave me the eebie jeebies. That’s a Koine Greek expression for “the creeps”. Or as the pirates on the high seas would exclaim, “Shiver me timbers!”
With the science of chemical engineering in my corner, I sprinkled the designated poison on this active bunch of insects. In matter of a few hours all was again quiet. Only a few surviving insects were still kicking.
One neighbor told me that they don’t bite until a swarm has crawled up your leg. Then, it is as if someone gives a signal and they all start chomping on you at once. I’ll take his word for it and hope I never find myself in that situation.
Another neighbor told us how their daughter was in the yard and sat down on the lawn to rest. She sat right on top of a fire ant hill. In an instant she was covered with welts from their painful bites.
That’s enough stories for me. I have mentally told myself to be alert, attack each new mound with resolve and never let down my guard. It is a declaration of war by all of our neighborhood against these pests.
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography