Friday, August 7, 2009

Fire Ants vs. Babs


OK, it was a perfect day to get some serious yard work accomplished. A breeze was blowing in from the ocean, and the sky was overcast. I donned my official gardening apparel (capris, ratty tee-shirt, gloves, flip-flops) and grabbed my favorite gardening tool, a eighteen inch hoe/chopper thing. The gardener's here call it my "baby hoe." It is a tool from Smith and Hawkins' store. I recently found out that Smith and Hawkins have not made it through this economic downturn. I am sad. I will miss their good garden items.

I began hoeing weeds around the hibiscus with my "baby hoe." All was going well...I was happy, the hibiscus was happy...until I stepped on the ant hill. The ants were not happy.

Our village is situated on a huge sand hill and ants love it here. So we always have many, many of them around, and when the rainy season begins, they get especially cranky. I guess they do not like having 180 inches of rain flooding out their tunnels. So, now, having size nine flip-flops standing on top of their village made everyone of them come boiling out of the hole...and right onto my foot.

Being completely absorbed in my weeds, I did not noticed until my foot was covered and the little guys were heading up toward the kneecap. At that moment, some General Patton ant gave the word: "Bite now!" Yikes! That got my attention.

I began to do the "Fire Ant Shuffle!" With arms and legs flailing about, it only took 15-20 seconds to get all the little monsters off my leg, but it seemed forever. It got the guards attention (could have been the screaming). The guards were concerned, as I now had several ant bites all over my foot. Well, so much for gardening. I soaked my feet in the tub, rubbed on the aloe gel, and generally felt sorry for myself.

My question is: How is it possible for such a tiny creature to inflict such a painful bite? And why? Yes, I did remove my foot from their home, but then I sent Dave out with the ant spray. So, really, who won?

My advice for the week is: Do not step on the ants.
Have a good one.