Sometimes Tart, Southern Living

Fire Ants

The ides of March are upon us. Technically, it is still winter, but yesterday, it was 85 degrees. I wore flip flops, shorts and a tank top as Sean and I set off into the neighborhood to goof off. Wearing shorts in March might sound like a good thing, but there is a price to be paid for it in fire ants.As we walked towards the pond, the late afternoon sun made lacy shadows that shimmered and danced on the sidewalk under the canopy of trees. We stopped to admire the shadows and observe a parade of ants frantically marching to and fro in the crack. Squatting catcher-style, we watched them furiously shoving past one another, each one desperate to complete some invisible task. Sean held me back with one hand in a protective manner and waved the other hand over the army of ants to indicate danger. “Ants,” he said looking up at me solemnly. Then he repeated what he has heard us say over and over, “Ants bite. Don’t touch.” The sting of a fire ant bite is unfortunately something with which all Texans become all too familiar all too soon. And it seems each year they get bigger and meaner.

With no cold weather this winter to freeze off their fire-y little behinds, the fire ants have been hanging out all winter in their subterranean dens of iniquity pumping iron, drinking protein drinks and making fun of humans.

Which brings me to a new marketing slogan I have for our northern neighbors:Canada! No fire ants here!

When it’s 85 in March, you know it’s going to be a long summer.

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