Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ant Conspiracy?

Hurray!  48 hours ant-less.  My hummingbird feeder is safe.

.....well, let's be honest:  the miserable feeder is leaking.  It only cost $1 so I guess I got what I paid for.  I have a couple of others (just as cheap) so I'll trade it out for another.  I'm still not giving up.

But I wonder if the ants aren't giving up either.  Mysteriously, overnight a very large ant bed has popped up out near the clothesline.  They are fire ants--very different from the black sugar ants.  Makes me wonder if one ant bunch is making treaties with the other.  Word probably gets around among bugs, so they may know I'm out to get them.

To be serious:  Fire ants are nasty and aggressive; too many bites from that bunch can kill you.  When my stepfather was quite elderly and ill, he went for a walk alone and fell into a ditch on the side of our road....and thus into an ant bed.  We didn't realize that he'd left the house.  He lay there in that ditch for who-knows-how-long and lacked strength to pull himself out.  When we discovered him later sitting in his recliner still covered with crawling ants, it was very alarming.  It took a week in the hospital to repair the ant damage.  The doctor said he had never seen someone with so many bites and he marveled that my stepfather had survived.  We made sure he never left the house alone again to go walking.

This is why I miss my guinea fowl--those things love to eat fire ants.  But fowl are noisy.  Very noisy.  Here's a small sample of someone else's guineas if you want to appreciate the ear-splitting experience (and, believe me, they can be lots louder than this):

Thus my good neighbors have reasonably and politely requested that I refrain from getting another pair.  My good neighbors are so kind and ask for so little; I can hardly refuse.  But I miss Heckle & Jeckle, and I dearly wish they were here to eat ants.

Just last week, I kinda embarrassed myself with my not-nice across-the-street neighbors (the ones with the dreadful dogs).  I didn't know anyone was watching.  I had driven to my mailbox (would have rather walked but, hey, nasty dogs) when I noticed big fire ant mounds up and down the sides of the driveway.  So it seemed like a good idea to flatten them.....with the car.  So I was having a lovely time driving along the sides of the driveway, backing up and pulling forward, reversing halfway down and then driving up again.  I'd been at it for several minutes before I noticed the not-nice neighbors standing there watching.  Who knows what they thought I was doing.  Sure discouraged those ants, though!

Now I need to discourage some more.  There are several large clumps of the voracious intruders in the back yard but the car won't help with this.  Someone gave me a partial bag of leftover natural insect killer, so maybe I'll give that a try.  The ants have also taken over my little composting project but I guess I'm gonna have to leave them to that for now. 

Sometimes uncooked grits works with fire ants.  Pour a bit on the mound--they take it inside to eat and they can't digest it so they die.  I've done this before with 50/50 success rate.....okay, less than that but at least it's something to do.

My pawn shop friend has said that I should try the two shovel method--get a shovel-full from one mound and a shovel-full from another, then drop them into alternate ant mounds.  Not a bad idea; ants will fight for territory after all.  But I'm probably not speedy enough to accomplish this without personal damage.

Ah well.  We'll see what happens.  Due for rain today and tomorrow.  Can't do anything until the rain stops, so the ants will be safe enough for a few more days. 

Life is good.
But I don't trust ants!

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