Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fah-yer Aynts

As I was sitting here thinking about how you never cease to amaze me with your wealth of knowledge in entomology, I remembered a time, when I didn't know any of you Southern gals, that your wisdom would have spared a stupidity never to be repeated.

For those of you not in the South, or should I say, those of you who are able to lie down in your grass without fear, let me introduce you to this creature who comes straight from the bowels of hell:

This, dear innocent ones, is a Fire Ant. He needs no introduction to anyone South of the Mason/Dixon line, I'm sure. I will tell you right off the bat that he never travels alone. EVER. And those little pincher thingies? They're meant for biting. Biting PEOPLE. Oh and one more thing, it hurts just as bad as you would guess it would by looking at them, and probably even worse. But remember, they don't travel alone. EVER. So there are at least 5 of them biting you at the same time if you are foolish enough to come within a 17 foot radius of one of their mounds.

I am now going to tell you about how I learned about these little beasts. One day, while living in South Carolina, I happened to notice my neighbor outside in her yard. I was such a lonely stay-at-home Mama at that point which caused me to jump, if not absolutely hurl myself, at every opportunity to have adult conversation. So naturally, when I saw her, I snatched up baby Ty and headed out the door with such determination that I didn't even put on any shoes.

Yeah, it's pathetic, I know, but this chic thrives on social interaction, people. Which is why, when I run into a young Mama at the grocery store who strikes up a conversation over the eggs and then proceeds to tell me her life story while nervously giggling the whole time, I recognize the precipice that she is on and I try to listen attentively.

Anyway. I tried to appear as casual as one can without footwear as I made a beeline toward the little fence that separated our properties. She saw me coming, stopped what she was doing and reached for Ty (because she was awesome like that) who happily went right to her, then we commenced chatting over the fence. What happened next is so indelibly burned into my psyche that I don't even think the Joys of Heaven will be able to erase it.

All of a sudden, both of my feet and one of my legs felt like they were being punctured by hot, thick needles, repeatedly. I backed away screaming and questioning loudly what fate had befallen me.

"Looks like you yerself got into some fah-yer aynts" drawled my Southern friend.

"What are these wicked things that you speak of", I questioned further, while begging God for mercy. She just smirked and probably called me a Yankee for the 768th time in my life.

I was rapidly brushing the horrid creatures off of my leg and feet only to have them attach to my hands to bite me further. It took me all of forever to kill them, but all of one minute to realize for eternity that beautiful mounds of freshly turned up soil are NOT a place to put your foot or any other appendage. Because what lies beneath are dark, sinister beings that quickly rise to the top and whose sole purpose for existing is to destroy the human race one bite at a time.

Now you can consider yourselves informed and I can feel like I have done my part in the world of Innnnsect Identificaaaaaaaaaaaation. Oh, what will we talk about in the wintertime?

The Bug Policegirl,


Drewe Llyn said...

ROTFL! I am intimately aquainted with those critters you so aptly described. I've been their main course more times than I could count. Like you, I too was/am a yankee. My heritage is southern, but I was birthed in New Jersey. I remember being warned of "fire ants" one summer when we visited my Mississippi relatives. My young mind pictured ants setting fires wherever they went! I know better now...water doesn't put them out, it only spreads them.

javamamma said...

I know what you're talking about though we don't have a HUGE population of them around here. Terrible experience you had - yikes.

So, are you and said neighbor still friends?

Emily said...

I have never, ever seen one or been around one. So, is the South filled with only creepy bugs? 'Cause I can't come visit now.

Andrea said...

You are so funny, girl!

Caroline said...

My VERY informative neighbor told me that one characteristic of the evil fire ant is that they hold their sting until there is enough of the bad dudes on the "victim" then they start biting all at one time.

Evil, huh?

Duckygirl said...

That'd be hard to forget! Ouchie!!!


Anonymous said...

Oh, those are awful!

KarenW said...

Aren't they Alabama's state insect? LOL You can't live in Alabama very long without experiencing fire ants. I haven't seen any here yet but I think we are still far enough south.

Krista said...

You are so funny! I agree with you about the origin of the ants!

Have a great day!

DidiLyn said...

You know,Gayle, when I saw on my trusty GoogleReader that you had published another post this morning, I have to tell you that I hesitated, just for a moment before I hit "enter." Because of the "catapiller" post. I still have that horrid picture burned on the back of my retinas.
So what pops up today? A big picture of a fire ant.
My delight knows no bounds.
Thank you for this. (NOT!!)
(just kidding...loved your post. The pictures? Not so much.)

Lora Lynn said...

One of my twins is highly allergic to bug bites. It was never more clear than when he got five fire ant bites on one foot and swelled up like a balloon. i mean, ALL OVER his body. He looked like will smith in "hitch." I got him an epi pen after that little escapade.

Kent said...

Too funny!! i hate fire ants--the pain just lingers! i have one that is very allergic--you can watch the poison travel up his veins in a red line!!

Stacy said...

Hi-I have just found my way to your blog from His Girl...and read a couple of your last posts and I must are hilarious!! Your sense of humor is so lively and a breath of fresh air!! Thank you....:) The bathroom story....priceless!

It is nice to meet you...I needed a little humor in my life today!

In Christ-Stacy

Growin' with it! said...

don't ever let your kids watch the "ant bully" movie! your hatred might not be as appreciated.

Growin' with it! said...

don't ever let your kids watch the "ant bully" movie! your hatred might not be as appreciated.

EEEEMommy said...

So this has nothing to do with your scintilating insect posts, but I thought of you immediately last night after Phelps won that race, and if I had had your phone number I would seriously have called you and you would have discovered how insane I really am! My husband didn't know which was more entertaining; the unbelievable photo finish or my jumping up and down the entire last half of the race. Could you believe it?!?!? And then my dad had the nerve to say today that he's tired of watching Michael Phelps win gold medals. That's blasphemous!

As for the insects, we have one of those caterpillars in our jar but hadn't identified it yet. Reading your blog just saved me that task; thanks! ;) And yes, fire ants are horrible! So are biting flies! Shudder.

chickadee said...

they are really horrid aren't they? i got stung 4 times just the other day and i'm still scratching. hate htem.

petersonclan said...


If you ever get stung (this works for mosquito bites too!) rub mouthwash on them!!! Takes the burn and itch right out.

My one requirement when we were looking for a new job for Dh was that we be above the freeze line so my children could play outside in the grass. Boy I love Kentucky!

carrie said...

say no more. I lived in Texas for 6 years and South Carolina for one. I know all about those little spawns of Satan.