Thursday, July 07, 2005

Fire Ants

Over at YRHT, the Oyster is blogging about Hurricane Dennis, and the inundation that might strike New Orleans. He has some cool equipment, and he's worried about fire ants.

One of the critters we have in the South is the Fire Ant. A dastardly little biting insect that leaves a pus-filled blister at the site of the bite. Additionally, fire ants are never alone. There is always a zillion of them, so you never get bit once, but dozens or hundreds of times. Charming.

To increase the charm of this ungodly vermin, in a flood, the survival mode kicks in for the colony and they band together in a ball, floating atop the water. I have personally seen this in the floods in Natchitoches Parish in 1984, 1987, and 1991. Those balls of fire ants float merrily along until they come to dry land, wherein they decamp from the water and find a place to conduct land operations. You can often mark the high water mark of a flood by the fire ant colonies that take up residence at the waters edge.

If you happen to touch one of the floating colonies, they decamp merrily upon you! It ain't pleasant.

Arguing about a hurricane landfall is an ancient and honored custom in the Bayou State, and wherever Dennis lands, I wish the residents there all the best. Hurricanes suck, even the small ones. Personally, I think Dennis is gonna leave New Orleans alone. I might be wrong. I have been before, but I think that Dennis wants to spend some time on the Florida coast. New Orleans is simply too humid this time of year.

Note to Oyster: If he comes in around Houma, head to high ground.


oyster said...

Thanks for the fire ant info. I hope to never see one of those floating colonies.

My inlaws in Houma are notoriously reluctant to evacuate. I think they're crazy to stay, but many do.

sweet said...

Another thing about fire ants is, they're really quiet and they tiptoe until a bunch of them are covering your foot (hand, arm, leg, whatever...). Then, when they have you good and covered, one of them blows a whistle, and they all bite you at once....Tricky lil dudes!!!