My house has been invaded. I'm under siege. If I step out onto my back patio, I risk getting mauled by red ants. Does anybody have a solution?
In anticipation of enjoying my backyard overlooking a lush ravine, I purchased some new deck furniture. I took advantage of a beautiful summer day recently and sat down on a comfortable swivel sofa to enjoy a good read and a cold beer. The birds overhead were chirping. A couple of squirrels were playfully sauntering about. Life was good. But this afternoon of bliss was to be short lived.
I noticed some reddish looking ants nearby milling about near my feet. Recalling Aesop’s fable about the grasshopper and the ants, whereby the grasshopper lazily wasted away the summer while the ants busily stored food away for the long winter, I looked at the ants and admired their work ethic. It seems they admired me too, especially my feet.
After about five minutes, my ankle started getting itchy. As I looked southward to investigate, I saw two ants nonchalantly leaving the area. I could almost see them giving me a thumbs up.
My itch increased and soon my ankle sprouted two large red welts, the size of a frisbee. OK, actually they were the size of a toonie.
I made a quick deck evacuation. I noticed now there was a swarm of these critters out there. Word of a great meal must have spread quickly. They may as well have rated the merits of this feast on some insect Trip Advisor.
Unfortunately, my ankle swelling persisted forcing me to visit my doctor. I asked him what to do about the problem and he recommended that before I go out back on the deck again that I apply insect repellent. I thanked him for his sage medical advice.
I canvassed the backyard situation the next day from the safety of my kitchen window. I saw no ants at all for about 2 minutes. Suddenly a legion came out of nowhere and converged on the deck. I figured a scout saw me peek through the window and sounded the bugle; “He’s coming back. Yes!.”
I had to deal with these hordes. I was not about to abandon the fort. I remembered from watching those movies about ancient warfare where the soldiers defending a castle would pour boiling sulphur over the castle walls onto the invaders. As I was still scratching my ankle, I asked my wife, “I don’t suppose we have a jug of sulphur in the pantry?”
She agreed we were sulphur challenged.
I then had a chat with my friendly pharmacist who suggested that dousing the invaders with vinegar would do the trick. The little problem was that I despise the smell of vinegar. It revolts me. There was no way I was going to come within a ten-foot pole of that vile substance. I have my values.
I looked at my sore and itchy ankle. Five minutes later I grabbed a litre of this alleged food product and charged out covering my nose with my hand. I quickly poured the stuff over a platoon of unsuspecting ants. After all, one must be flexible
I don’t think this maneuver was successful at all. I noticed even more ants arriving towards the front lines. I got the feeling the vinegar did not deter them. On the contrary. I almost expected them to approach me with a plate of French fries and ask for more.
To make matters worse, I now felt a nasty itch on the palm of my hand. As before, this area was soon covered with a large welt, the size of a DVD. OK, the size of a loonie. But a large one.
Out of precaution I visited my doctor again. His enlightened advice was, “Have you tried vinegar?” Ugh! I suggested the good doctor stick to medicine.
I then did the obvious thing. I went on the Internet. I Googled, “How to get rid of red ants. desperate.”
I came across a video that looked helpful. However, I should have viewed it with some skepticism given that the guy offering the advice called himself Wild Bob. He wore overalls and had a southern twang. I waited for him to say, “Step one y’all, get out your shotgun.”
He recommended preparing a concoction, consisting of two parts borax and one-part peanut butter. You spread it around all over and those buggers suck it up and bring it to their queen. Once the queen ingests it, she feels sick and tells her subjects this place ain’t safe anymore and they dismantle their tents and scramble.
Sounded good to me. I prepared the delicacy and spread it as per the instructions of Wild Bob. This time I took all necessary safety precautions; I wore shoes, socks and gloves.
As I smeared this cocktail mix onto the battlefield, I noticed yet a larger congregation of ants convening. There were almost as many as the number of people who generally line up outside the store when Apple announces the arrival of its latest iPhone.
I was sure this would do it. I said to the guests, “Welcome dearies. Dinner is served.”
My optimism was short lived. The ants did not emigrate. Her Majesty must have enjoyed this treat.
Adding injury to insult, I suddenly felt an itch on my forehead. Yep, this was, followed by a welt the size of a bagel. OK, definitely not smaller than a nickel. But it felt bigger.
I did not go to my doctor this time, but I did telephone him for some quick advice. I trust he will not bill OHIP for telling me to visit this website he heard about, featuring Wild Bob.
I had to find an answer. Nuke them! I went to the hardware store and inspected a slew of insect liquidation products. A weapon of mass destruction would be just fine. I picked up and read the info on several cans and cartons, but none mentioned red ants. I asked a store clerk for advice and his most helpful answer was, “Red ants? That must hurt. Geez.”
I telephoned an 800-number printed on a can of a popular product. I reached a gentleman called Ty, some place in Wisconsin. He said, “Red ants? Those are also known as ‘fire ants’. They originated in South America and they’re winding their way northward.”
I told him they’re not winding anymore. They’ve arrived in Thornhill Ontario.
He said, “Oh, you’ve got them in Canada now? Nasty pests aren’t they.”
He was sympathetic. As I expected him to direct me to the holy grail of red ant riddance, Ty said, “Sorry, but we’re still working to find a satisfactory solution to deal with fire ants.”
I'm back to square one, now being enjoying my good read and cold beer indoors.
I'm open to suggestions. I wonder whether just like there is a horse whisperer, if there is some type of ant whisperer who can approach the fire ant queen and convince her to relocate. I shall not be asking my doctor for further advice on that one.