In our house.
For those of you unfamiliar with this particular sub-species, fire ants are like regular ants except they bite and leave large, red itchy welts on you. They are also very aggressive. Think the non-flying version of Africanized killer bees.
Like mosquitos, love bugs, june bugs, tree roaches, mega prosperity gospel churches and bad drivers, fire ants are simply a fact of life if you live in Southeast Texas.
I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there will always be fire ants in my yard. There’s no such thing as getting rid of all of them. As soon as you get rid of one mound, the surviving members pack their tiny little suitcases and find another spot to build a new one. There is a product called Over and Out that promises to kill the ant population on your property for an entire season. The only problem with that is it’s very expensive. The instructions say to use a broadcast spreader to cover your entire property. A 10 pound bag is $25, which covers 5,000 square feet. Our property is just over 2 acres. You do the math…
No, seriously…I suck at math. I have no idea how many bags that would be, but according to my husband (who doesn’t suck at math), that’s a lot of money to kill some ants for one season.
Okay, I just figured it out (Thank you, Google).
One acre equals 43,560 square feet
Two acres is 87,120 square feet
87,120 divided by 5,000 is 17.424
17.424 multiplied by $25 is $435.60 (plus shipping and handling)
(Did you eyes sort of glaze over there? I know mine did.)
So, for roughly $450 every six months, I could have a fire ant free yard. And angry neighbors on either side of me because all of those ants are gonna pack up and move next door.
But back to my original point: We have fire ants in our house. They have been getting in through the weep holes in the brick and setting up shop in the walls. We are living in a giant, creepy ant farm.
I called Dave the exterminator last month. He came out, treated the outside of the house and sprayed the inside. When he was finished, he told me that I would most likely see a few more ants “here and there”, and that if I did I should just treat the area where I find them.
I took this to mean spray them with ant killer or, if they happen to be, for some inexplicable reason, congregating in the microwave, turn on said microwave to high until they stop moving. Random fact: It takes longer to kill fire ants in a microwave than it does to pop a bag of popcorn. They’re tough little suckers!
As I feared, I did see more fire ants “here and there”, and I sprayed them or nuked them as I saw them. The only problem with this plan was that every time I got rid of the ants in one part of the house, they would show up in another area. (Again–giant, creepy ant farm.) After a couple of weeks of killing ants in one place only to have them show up somewhere else, I called Dave back and told him we still had an ant problem.
The following day, Dave came out to my house with his business partner. They walked around with flashlights trying to figure out where the ants were coming in. I showed them the ant killer I was using and explained again that when I killed them in one location, they would show up somewhere else. After a brief discussion and more walking around with flashlights, they determined that the best course of action was to set traps for the ants and allow the worker ants to take the poison back to the queen thereby killing the mound. “Okay. That makes sense. You have to get to the source of the problem in order to eliminate it. I’ll do that.”
But here’s the best part. Dave says to me, “You need to NOT kill the ants with the spray. Let them crawl around and take the bait.”
So now I’ve STILL got hundreds of ants crawling around in two out of 3 bathrooms in my house, which makes the morning routine for a family of four a tad stressful.
You may be asking yourselves at this point, “What is the life lesson I can take from this story? What bit of wisdom can I take away from this post?”
“I don’t have one. I do, however, have fire ants in my house.”
Not everything is a metaphor, people.