Good morning, everyone. I’m back to work and the downtown area of Charleston is starting to dry out. I can’t say the same for areas north of where I live, though. Dams are breaking around our capital (Columbia), and we’re downstream. Roads and bridges are collapsing or are in danger of doing so. Although Charleston and Berkeley County schools are back in session (as of yesterday), Dorchester County has closed their schools through the end of the week due to impassable roads and unsafe bridges. Meanwhile, as we deal with the mess caused by the flooding, we discovered yet another reason to NOT walk around in flood waters. Fire ants survive flood!
For many of you lucky farmers and gardeners out there, you have no idea what a fire ant hill is. Neither did I until I moved south. They are the nastiest of creatures, and their bites (yes, plural) are brutal! You can feel them bite you, then the bites itch for days on end, and the bite marks last for weeks (unless you put apple cider vinegar on them). The hills pop up almost overnight, too – especially after a rain. And the worst thing is when they decide to place their ant hills right in your garden, among your crops, where ant poisons are not an option. What are you to do?? All natural fire ant control!
I want to be an ant killer. Not when I grow up. Now! One of the things I hate about living in the South is having to deal with ubiquitous red fire ant mounds. Unlike the harmless black ants I knew growing up in New England, fire ants are a painful pest to deal with. As a kid, I often watched black ants carrying crumbs of food to their silver-dollar-sized mounds, without any worry of being bitten. Fire ants are another critter altogether! Left alone, fire ant mounds can grow many inches tall and feet wide. And fire ants are aggressive, with painful and itchy bites that leave marks for weeks. Trust me, I know. (As a note: apple cider vinegar applied to the bites will ease the pain and itch as well as prevent them from causing marks.) Well, this past week, I was determined to rid my yard and garden of them once and for all. Join me on my quest!