Posts Tagged ‘Insects’

Go ahead, admit it. You at one time have inflicted some sort of harm upon a hapless insect or other ruinous species of the animal kingdom, and derived pleasure out of it. From finally terminating that overexuberant house fly who keeps trying to land on the bbq and potato salad after putting you through tremendous upper body workouts, to more elaborate schemes to control pests à la Prestone Pot Roast (and you know who you are…yes, you do, my dear friend – your secret is mine), it is probably safe to say man has been forced to have dominion over the animals. For safety and for sanity.

And don’t even try to tell me there is merit in those termites chomping through your walls, and that hibernating bats are somehow good for the greater ecosystem up in my attic.

Here we vie for space with fire ants, not so graciously brought to the South by a commercial ship from South America in the 1930s. Thanks, bunches. Turns out they rather enjoy our climate and sandy soil, and, like us, have set up shop and called it home. They especially like to build giant mounds at the bases of shrubs, or the more passive-aggressive types aim for a spot smack-dab in the middle of your nice lawn or golf course, for added landscaping effect.

There are all sorts of ways to manage these pests, but my favorite thing to do is to get them really mad before we do them in. They are great fun to watch when you disturb their mound, scurrying to and fro, trying to decide if they should drop the big, white glop they were in the middle of delivering somewhere, and come sting you. These suckers communicate, too. They can climb clear up a leg without biting, then one of them sounds some kind of inaudible command, and they sting in unison. Teamwork!

So I send my team of bug explorers out to get them all riled up before we spray them dead or hose them out. With all the fervor of Bill Murray offing the gophers in Caddyshack, my crew gets right to work:

King of the Hill!

Why he continues to stand so close likely has to do with his lack of experience with how quickly these pests can boogie. They actively seek to protect by harming intruders, and they are hypervigilant. This child standing mere inches away is as inconspicuous to the ants as that dude was to the rest of us shoppers in the express checkout line at the warehouse club, purchasing an industrial-sized box of condoms. Both are being curiously eyed by incredulous onlookers. Both flirt with some level of impending doom for their zealous enthusiasm for getting too close, too often. Somebody’s about to get slapped, then dumped for a more appropriate playmate.

Learn from his youthful errors, which he is about to permanently correct via experience: Vertical holes cause less damage and require more work than horizontal attacks, thereby increasing one’s time frame of risk. Flip flops within biting distance. And, not captured above was the move he ceremoniously made when he removed the stick quickly and waved it like a victory flag, catapulting dirt and ants airborne and triggering the rest of us to hastily evacuate the radius while scolding him soundly, then checking heads and clothing for any gravity-prone offenders. For our three year old, this is better than Montessori!

Here comes his older brother who learned all about fun with fire ants before he was two, and, shortly thereafter, made his first trip to the ER, covered in bites from the hips down. It was pure hell seeing him across the yard by a post-hurricane anthill (when they are most aggressive), hearing his cries and not being able to get to him faster than the ants could. It was like a slow-motion sprint, a lost race. And it took mere seconds for him to toddle over there and sit down in the absolutely worst spot in the yard at the moment. But I digress…

Expert Ant-Upsetter

Now 8, this child has mastered the art of ant harassment. Behold the longer dagger. Sturdy shoes AND socks. Horizontal attack, pointing away.  Knees slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart, firm grip. Apparently he got something out of the jousting field trip he attended earlier this month. And he is bold enough to conduct the attack while still in his school uniform. Makes his mama proud, he does! A real warrior. Now, if I could just get him to make his bed with equal diligence…

In other news, a humble thank you to Shoes On The Wrong Feet for bestowing upon me the One Lovely Blogger award. I am more than honored to accept it, and blessed to provide that “unexplained sense of coming home” on this blog to this dear Seattle reader, and all others.

And a special welcome home to Cecilia and Her Sisters, who was inspired to take my  invitation to “hit the beach!” quite literally, and moved the whole family to the beach of their dreams. Because, you know, life IS so terribly short, so why not make a vacation out of life itself, live your dream and insert yourself directly into it?

Welcome home, y’all! Now grab a stick, gloves and some spray, and help me get a handle on these beasts out in the yard…then we’ll have some sweet tea on the front porch, deeply inhale the sea-laden air in between sips and relish our victory in reclaiming our home from these tiny ant-agonists.

Coming soon: Today’s awesome 10K + cooling down on the 2-mile fun run (hurts so good, baby!) with a down-home weekend festival, the Great Potty Crisis at the Special Olympics, alligator bites (tastes like chicken! really!), the National Junior Dishonor Society ceremony and What Happens When You Swallow a Battery.

Thanks, God, for fire ants, blogging friends and for WordPress for this platform to spew myself and my little piece of life into the universe.

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