We have fire ants here in Georgia. Do you know what fire ants are? They sting like bees, and build ant hills the size of small mountains. One false step and you are covered in millions of ants, biting every part of your body.
An ant bite is painful, and it lasts for days. It’s a sort of maddening itching with a sting to it. At first, it just looks like a mosquito bite. But then, it turns into a large, swelling pustule. A few weeks ago, the baby stepped on an ant hill. Her ankle was covered in bites, and swelled to three times its size. By now, all of us have had ant bites, particularly during the fall when they come out in full force.
Something had to be done.
There was an anthill the size of a king size pillow in my backyard. I was worried someone would step on it. I recruited Neighbor Boy with the hose, while I took our large shovel. I moved quickly, shoveling the mounds of dirt and tossing them into woods behind our house. Millions of ants spilled out and began charging down the hill toward us. Quick, the hose! I shouted. The ants started crawling up the shovel. He sprayed them down.
At first, it looked like we were winning, but no. Those ants kept coming. I flipped the shovel over and started smacking them into the ground. But they kept popping back up, and pouring down the hillside.
Abort, abort! we screamed.
We made our way to the front yard with the shovel. In the driveway, I lay the shovel against the bottom of our brick porch. That’s when I noticed it.
A blob of anthill had clung to the end of the shovel. Suddenly, ants began pouring out, up the shovel, toward me.
I dropped it just in time and ushered the kids away.
Then I felt the sting on my stomach.
I looked down at my shirt, and flicked away the only little bastard I saw. I inspected the rest of my body, as well as Neighbor Boy’s. We were spared. One sting between us.
This morning, I woke up at 1 AM, feeling as if I had just been stung by a bee. I stumbled around in the dark to the bathroom, slapped some Calomine lotion on, and then went back to a fitful sleep.
Here’s what I found in the morning.
They don’t look like much more than mosquito bites, but in a day or so, they’ll look like my forehead the summer I turned 15. And they’ll burn steadily for a least a week.
After yoga I’m going to buy some ant spray and charge back out there. It ain’t over yet.
Mother F’in Ants.