I am so extremely mad right now...I feel very much like the pots of water boiling on my stove.  The worst part is I can't blame anyone but me.  So I am mad at myself.   Grrrr!

I finished weeding a little spot in our yard for some vegetable plants today.  Kaia helped.  She has been so very excited to plant lettuce, peas, and carrots there.  We began our evening with a quick run around the block so we would have time to pull the last few weeds and plant our little seeds.  The weather was gorgeous.  The seeds called.  It was exciting.  It was perfect. 

I thought it would be helpful to spread a little fresh topsoil on the's about 3' x 4'.  I dragged a bag out of the garage, only to discover it was bark.  I wasn't worried, though, because I had a partially used bag in the back yard at the edge of the grass.  Perfect isn't gone yet.

But I should have known better.  A partially used bag of fresh, soft, undisturbed topsoil.  Have I mentioned we live in Houston?

I dumped the soil out and shook it around the little plot.  Seconds later, I think I stopped breathing.  At least for two seconds.  The soil was moving.  Literally.  It was full of Fire Ants.

"Don't worry," I told Kaia.  "I can fix it!"  I brought Amdro over to the scene.  Kaia jumped happily and celebrated our new plan.  She's had some bad experiences with Fire Ants.  Never one to be too cautious, though, I decided to read the label before applying.

"Do not use near crops."  The celebration ended.  Perfect fell apart pretty quickly.  Harry was crying too.  He was ready for bed.

We came inside, ate dinner, and put Harry to bed.  I browsed the internet for ideas to kill Fire Ants in gardens.  I told Kaia my new plan:  boiling water and Ace Hardware.  They have to have something.  She handled it very well.  Better than me.  I feel like boiling water.

If any of you are southern gardeners, I would love some ideas for getting rid of Fire Ants in a garden.  It's a small area, so I'm hoping the boiling water will work.  I won't have a car that I can take to Ace until Thursday.  Did I say Grrrrr?  I should have thought better.


Skye February 15, 2011 at 8:12 PM  

I am just a naive northerner... but why are fire ants so bad? Do they sting or bite? Fill me in here LOL!

Jansen Family February 15, 2011 at 8:52 PM  

Oh, they're awful. First they bite. Then, while they're holding on tightly with their mandibles, they sting (scorpion-style) over and over. They keep pivoting and stinging until they're broken off. It's incredibly painful--a bite on the toe feels like fire shooting down your whole foot. My sister seems to be allergic--her foot once swoll (is that a word?...think swell in the past!) about three shoe sizes from two stings. Luckily, Kaia, Jon, and I aren't allergic, but it still hurts. Harry hasn't been bit yet, so we're hoping he reacts like Kaia.

Anyways, to finish my little novel here, the actual bite spot ends up looking like a large zit if you don't scratch it. If you do scratch it swells and looks much worse. As a group, the Fire Ants are resistant to most ant poisons and tend to attack as a group anyone that disturbs their mounds. We probably lucked out that today was the first day we hadn't had an overnight freeze in the last week because the ants would have normally swarmed out of the bag and attacked me when I picked up the bag. Texas has invasive fire ants (some in the pic) and natives...the introduced are from Brazil and are much more mean than the natives. They are also in my little garden plot. Grrr.

Hmmmm...that was a longer-than-normal response. I'm still a little boiling. :)


Skye February 15, 2011 at 9:07 PM  

oh my! that doesn't sound like any fun at all. Ugh! I wonder if they have them in South Carolina where we want to move... *Sigh* ... I bet they do.

Jansen Family February 16, 2011 at 7:23 AM  

Yeah, probably. *Sigh for you!* My sister lives in North Carolina and says they're there. I just put a tube of cortisone in my purse and another in the car...just in case. Nothing's worse than a stung toddler when you don't have anything to put on it. Much as it bugs me, it isn't enough to make me want to move out of Texas. ;)

The Shepherd family February 16, 2011 at 3:14 PM  

Sorry Carla, and I thought our ant problem was bad, at least ours don't sting. I have heard the boiling water trick is supposed to work. Another trick we tried was using borax mixed with honey. The ants eat is and it dehydrates them and the queen (whom they feed). In all your ant studies on Timp you never learned any useful tips? Would that professor know any? Just a thought. Good luck!

laughwithusblog February 16, 2011 at 3:49 PM  

I tried a Texas vegetable garden once. The bugs. Did God make them too?

Jansen Family February 16, 2011 at 7:31 PM  

Aliesha, it's maddening to know so much about ants and feel so helpless! I know lots of ways to kill ants, but none that would leave my dirt in the state I want! There weren't any Fire Ants on Timp...actually, while I was studying the ants, someone from Texas sent some Fire Ants in a ziplock baggie to the doctor I was working with. They wanted him to send a statement about the ants to a judge for some law suit they were working on! He declined, but it was my first view of the little buggers...and under a microscope too!

Yes, Esther, I believe so. I still think they need to go!

Actually, I'm getting over being mad. Now I just need to deal with the reality of it. Grrrr.