Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fire Ants

A little-known fact about me: I am a certified Elementary Education teacher.  Part of knowing how to teach kids involves knowing what they will eat. Or won't eat. Here's a recipe I can make that they will eat:

Make some celery chunks.
Push peanut butter into the groove.
Put raisins on top of the peanut butter.
---->  Ants on a Log

But, Ants on a Log are what sissies up north have. Down here in Texas we do it differently:

Make some celery chunks.
Push peanut butter into the groove.
Put red hots on top of the peanut butter.

-----> Fire Ants on a Log

The ants that live in the Northeast (and maybe the Northwest) are wimps.  Fire Ants are voracious and if you've ever absently-mindedly stood still too long near one of their mounds you will learn a painful lesson. They are not Red Ants, they are Fire Ants, because their bite burns like hell.

The Fire Ants are larger-than-life sculptures at our Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a part of a special exhibit of the Texas Sculptor Society.  The statue to the left in the top picture is life-size so that should give you an idea of the size of these sculptures.  If Fire Ants were actually this large I'd use a bazooka on them. And no one would live in Texas.

Getting near their mound isn't the only way to be attacked.  If you've just stood still too long on the sidewalk, they'll find you. They have an organized attack plan in which they swarm up your leg and wait until they have a full regiment in action, then they all start biting at once.  Mean little suckers.


Angie Platten said...

I have BAD memories of those things as a child. My grandparents lived in Mississippi and fire ants were just vicious! I still have a scar on the side of my big toe from a bite I got when I was 9. I got bit just before boarding a plane to Okinawa. Over the ocean, my toe was really hurting, took my shoe and sock off to discover a red line creeping up my leg from that bite! There happened to be a doctor on board and when we landed in Korea for fueling, the plane was held for me to go to the hospital! Quite the drama over an ant bite! Yes, those things may be little but they have a BIG bite and you don't forget it!

Diane O. said...

I'll keep our wimpy Mid-Atlantic ants. It's bad enough they make it into my kitchen every year I don't need them biting me too. Besides I did my tour in San Antonio and have first hand experience of the ankle biting.