Fire ants, the connections are endless.
Buckle up folks, this blog on fire ants goes all over the place. From fine art and movies to music and poetry. Who knew fire ants would be so heavily covered in pop culture? But first, just know this… according to the Wikipedia page on fire ants, “Due to its notoriety and importance, the ant has become one of the most studied insects on the planet, even rivaling the western honey bee“. Rivaling the honey bee??? Wow. Let’s dive in to this intriguing pest, the fire ant (also known as the Red Imported Fire Ant, aka RIFA).
In addition to this very easy to read list of fire ant facts from Mississippi State University, these were among the top four most interesting and least scientific (entertaining):
- Fire ants are among the worst invasive species IN THE WORLD.
- Fire ants are native to Argentina.
- Fire ants invaded the US via the seaport of Mobile, AL by cargo ship sometime between 1933 and 1945.
- Fire ants are about half the size of a pencil eraser and are really reddish brown in color.
Before we get to the bad news, let’s have a little fun with fire ants.
Let’s go shopping for fire ants!
It’s just so hard to talk facts and science and stuff when there is so much material out in the Google bubble. First, fire ants as art. We have already covered the art of aluminum casting of ant and fire ant hills. Did you know you could purchase those fire ant hills as beautiful sculptures? What a conversation that would be in your lovely foyer. For just $321.07 this sculpture could be yours. Perhaps an aluminum sculpture is out of budget for you, here is a really cool handpainted vintage travel case in the theme of fire ants (Christmas is just around the corner, folks).
Speaking of painting fire ants, did you take notice of the amazing fire ant illustration as our cover photo? It was created by Mississippi artist, Joe MacGown who works for the Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology at Mississippi State University as a Scientific Illustrator/Curatorial Assistant. Here is a really cool article about Joe and how he came to be an artist who of all things, draws fire ants for a living. Well, he does more than that, but how cool is that for an artists’ resume?
Moving on, but there’s still two more pop culture references that can’t be missed.
- First, the giant ant scene in Indiana Jones, 4. If you have ever seen it, I don’t need to remind you. If you haven’t seen it, please click here. Please. You will want to contact Lawn and Pest Services immediately to remove any and all ants for now and forever. Promise.
- Second, this song about fire ants. Please watch it for at least one minute. If you are entertained and also wondering, “what the heck did I just watch?” Here is the backstory on the fire ant song, and it involves the Christian standup comedian Tim Hawkins and a poem his son wrote about fire ants.
OK. OK. Here’s the real blog about fire ants.
Fire ants are dangerous and sometimes deadly to those who are highly allergic. Though they are tiny and pretty easy to spot with their unsightly mounds on your lovely lawn, they can cover you up in the blink of an eye. Before you even realize you have disturbed their nest, they are all over you, your child, your grandchild, or your pets. The venom of a fire ant stings and turns into a white blister the next day (don’t pop it, it can spread infection).
If you get stung, wash the area with soap and water, put some ice on the area, and watch for swelling and redness. Those who are allergic should be extra careful and keep a close eye on the stings. There really are cases of hospitalization and even death from fire ant stings.
Someone who steps on a fire ant mound will typically get a lot of stings at once. This is because the ants all live together and have been disturbed. Some mounds are small and fairly unnoticeable, so you can easily step on one and not even see it! Each string starts as a red bump and will turn into an itchy white blister the next day.
Fire ants are better as art, not deadly pests in your lawn.
Remember this quote, “fire ants are one of the most studied insects on the planet”? That’s because they painful, dangerous, and deadly to a few. Their unsightly mounds can sneak up on you or can stand out in your otherwise lovely lawn. There are plenty of examples of how they destroy property and crops.
There is plenty of at-home, do-it-yourself “treatments” for fire ants. As one Lawn and Pest employee said, “you are just chasing them around your yard with those products”. You may get rid of a few fire ant mounds for a while, but you really just made them move a little. They will be back. Our licensed lawn technicians can treat your lawn and win the battle against fire ants. Contact us here and let us help you ASAP so you can get back to that Indiana Jones movie.