Friday, October 31, 2014

The Devil's minions

Fire ant hill

If your part of the country doesn't have them, count your blessings. These mounds of granulated clay look harmless, inert, until you knock the top off of one. Just beneath lie thousands of agents of suffering.

They take over a field faster than kudzu. They've been rumored to eat the eggs of certain gallinaceous birds. Every living thing is supposed to have some value to the planet, but I've yet to find the good done by this tiny demon.

Water doesn't drown them. Bug spray doesn't deflect them. They move quickly and in silence.

They invade a boot without warning and those at the front of the charge wait until those at the rear have arrived to begin the assault. And then they bite. And it stings. And then itches for days.

Often they don't stop at boot level, ascending a leg until well past the knee only to release their venom in the most inconvenient of places.

I take great pleasure in their demise.

1 comment:

  1. It was 20 years ago when I was left in charge of our four-year old Julia while my wife was out of town for the weekend with her sister. I had big plans for Julia. We loaded up the Wagoneer (Jeep Heap) and stopped at the Savannah River tide gates where she landed a couple of schoolie stripers. Next stop was the “all you can pick” daffodil fields on Cat Island in the SC low country near a fitness/resort complex known as Parris Island. “Don’t step on those mounds, Julia.” By the time I turned around, she was sprawling on top of a huge bed. I grabbed her by the wrist and whacked, slapped her clothes and legs as fast as I could. She was covered with whelps. Not a tear in her eye, she was stoic until I asked the pharmacist what to put on them. The cure was worse than the disease, but she made it through the ordeal and she didn't have to rat me out to her mother. The two dozen whelps on her leg accomplished that. Fire ants, piss ants--same difference. Gil