Fire ants are mean little critters. I am sure they don't mean to be, that's it's just their nature to want to eat the flesh from our bones while we stand there writhing in agony. And it is kind of clever how they all wait to start sinking their mandibles into our skin until everyone is in place and ready. I realize they serve a purpose in the eco-system, consuming dead meat and all. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind if I woke up tomorrow and found they had become extinct.
I didn't come to this conclusion easily. No, it took many chance encounters from my childhood right into my 50s before it really took hold. What solidified it for me was the last major incident a few years ago...
One evening, I was sitting in my second favorite chair in my living room. I was in shorts and a T-shirt with bare feet. This is, of course, the mandatory clothing of Floridians about 10 months out of the year. It might even be mandated by law... but that's not important right now. I was watching TV when a felt a sharp pain on one of my toes. I looked down and saw this little red ant right where the pain was and immediately reached down and crushed it.
One thing I have learned over the years is that there is never just one ant. There will always be more. With fire ants, many more. So I look down at the gray carpeting and sort of let my eyes fall out of focus in order to detect movement. And there they are, several of them moving about, wending there way through the fibers in search of food to bring back to the nest. Since I am in almost the middle of my house, I begin to get a little concerned. The number of ants roaming about indicate a nearby nest. Which means I have a problem.
I could have a crack in my foundation (the house, after all, sits on a large concrete pad) or I could have a nest in a wall. Neither of these scenarios pleases me. I live in Florida; bugs, ants, spiders are all part of the "joy." They get into your house from time to time. Usually, you can deal with them easily. Ant baits, roach motels ("they can check in but they never check out!"), sprays, powders, etc. Most of the time, you simply set up barriers on the outside perimeter of your house and they don't cross it... unless they can fly.
I dismiss the idea of a cracked foundation immediately. The thought of this is simply too expensive. The most logical explanation is that they have entered through the garage wall, into the kitchen area, and then worked their way to the carpeted area. If this is true, I should find a trail of them from the kitchen across some bare space between. I don't. This means they likely came in somewhere along where outside wall meets the foundation. That is not unusual, small cracks appear there and little crawling creatures often exploit them. It means there will likely be a nest just outside an outer wall. I can find the nest, treat it (a polite way of saying "mass slaughter of millions of ants"), and solve my ant problem.
Or so I thought... Drop by tomorrow for the next chapter of "The Invasion".
A Night Unremembered
7 years ago