Revenge of the Ants

by Garreth Myers

 “As small as an ant” – ants are tiny and insignificant or so we would like to think! The reality is that the ant is actually the perfect example of “strength in numbers”. Many ancient cultures including the Persians and Mongols actually perfected torture devices to harness the ant’s abilities. These devices ensured the maximum amount of pain while minimizing the “risk” of the prisoner dying a quick death!   

Fire ants were accidentally introduced into the country in Alabama about 80 years ago. Today, they are common in 16 southern states and they are steadily spreading north, despite all efforts to stop their progress. In a single year, fire ants are responsible for US $750 million in damage to agricultural assets and a total of US$ 5 billion is spent annually on medical treatment, damage, and to control their numbers – they don’t seem quite so insignificant now, do they!

How to Get Rid of Fire Ants in your Yard
Everyone from home owners to state officials agree that fire ants are a problem, but it is impossible to find a consensus on how to get rid of them. While some people recommend pouring gasoline over a fire ant mound others recommend soapy water or club soda. Obviously, there is no dearth of ideas on how to destroy a fire ant mound, but the problem is finding one that actually works.

The best control for fire ants is properly applied fire ant bait. It is best if the bait granules are placed close to the mound to ensure that the queen dies. This takes a good bit of time and patience but the results are very rewarding. It is best to set out your bait when the temperature is 65 to 90 degrees F as this is when ants generally forage for food. You may have to repeat the process to make sure that the entire colony has been wiped out. If you are averse to using chemical pesticides, you could try pouring boiling water over a mound. You will need to wear protective clothing when using this method. Heat about 3 gallons of water until it comes to the boil and then pour it over the entire mound. To increase the effectiveness of this method, you can use a rake to upturn the mound while pouring the water.

How to Treat Fire Ant Bites
The first step in the treatment of fire ant bites is to thoroughly wash and cleanse the area. A fire ant injects an alkaloid venom when it bites and this results in a burning sensation; in order to ease the intense pain, you can place the affected area under cool running water for a few minutes. Apply a thin layer of Aloe Vera gel to the affected areas and once the gel has dried completely you can place a cold compress over it. This will help to reduce the itching and inflammation. Do not rub or scratch the bites as this will only aggravate the problem. Fire ant bites swell within a matter of hours to form little white pustules. You may be tempted to prick the pustule to get rid of it, but this is not advisable as it may cause the pustule to increase in size and it will also increase your risk of a skin infection.

Fire ant bites can cause a severe anaphylactic reaction that can even be fatal. If you experience any difficulty breathing or if you have shortness of breath after being bitten, you need to seek immediate medical attention. 
Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
More articles from the Health advice Category