In my enthusiasm for the delicate new rose, not to mention the hollyhocks, the geraniums, and the sweet wild daisies, I began wandering about in the untamed area off the patio. It is, unfortunately, typical of me that I was looking through the viewfinder and not thinking about my feet. I took my time enjoying all the offerings of our little yard and was headed back inside to prepare breakfast and begin the day when I felt a sharp stabbing pain under my left arm and a strange burning sensation that rushed across my upper body in the direction of my breastbone. It was like nothing I had ever felt before and stopped me in my tracks. I said to The Husband that I felt strange and sat down. Within seconds, I felt another of the pricks on the right side just below my waist and once again the burning sensation ran toward the center of my body. I was feeling pain—although minor and mostly peculiar when The Husband got up and said, “Don’t move. There’s something in your hair.”
Well, let’s cut to the chase now. I had stepped in an ant bed and the little suckers were getting even with me. After my shower with the ant-infested clothes safely in the washer and an antihistamine in me, I looked at the ant bed The Husband wanted to point out to me. (It’s pretty obvious, by the way. Just a stupid moment on my part.)
I didn’t get any photographs because almost the moment I stepped outside the wind had picked up and I had to wait a couple of days for my photographs. But, I learned that the ants we have at our place are large, mean, and pack a sting that my immune system doesn’t handle well.
It turns out my attackers are Harvester ants. (While doing research on the web I found this charming little tidbit at http://www.painfulbite.com/red_harvester_ant.php : “Red Harvester Ants can be aggressive and have a painful sting that spreads through the lymph nodes, sometimes causing reactions, especially in those allergic to their venom. In addition to their potent sting, Red Harvester ants can bite ferociously.” I can vouch for the accuracy of this information as well as the fact that they are creepy ugly.)
I may not know much about these beasts, but I know this: I want them dead. I want their mothers dead. I want their fathers dead. I want them all dead. I can deal with the ground squirrels that eat flowers and burrow under fence posts and the house, for crying out loud. Heck, they are cute and I am a little attached to the one who has the penthouse outside the window. But, the ants? Those guys bring out the killer instinct in me.
This morning, I got brave enough to once again venture out to the wilds and actually got some pictures. This time I didn’t make a move without checking first to see where I was about to put my feet.