Calamine, calamine, calamine lotion…

Oh, no no no, not the lotion.

The mild mannered attempts at fire ant removal are a thing of the past. Today, while pulling grass from beneath the tomatoes, I felt a bite. Not at all new, as each visit to the beds awards me with anywhere from one to three bites usually, and usually on my ankles. This time, the bite was on my forearm. I looked down.

My entire leather glove was black and red. My arm, nearly to my elbow, looked like it had been dipped in a teeming ooze of fire ant. Angry, and mildly terrified, I quickly ripped my fire-ant-clad glove from my hand with my other gloved hand, and dropped it to the ground. I beat my poor arm like it wasn’t attached, dislodging as many fire ants as I could with each swat. It worked. So well, in fact, that the ants had rained down and grabbed hold of my thighs, my calves, and my shoes. I beat them off as well. When I was satisfied that I had no more on me, I gingerly picked up my fallen glove and beat it soundly against a board. Ditching both gloves to be abandoned by any possible hangers-on, I went for the hose and doused my arm in cool water.

Thankfully, while allergic, it’s not a life threatening allergy. I got to feel a little light headed and a fair bit of woozy for the rest of the afternoon, and this evening I’ve watched the swollen white welts turn to a swollen red arm, turn yet again into the usual little blisters the ant bites leave behind. Although this time they’re tinged with green, instead of the usual creamy yellow. I’ll try not to think about it.

Within the hour I was at Green and Growing picking up a bag of organic fire ant bait. If the weather holds, the onslaught will commence at sunset tomorrow.

In the meantime, I did not think to run for the camera when I saw my arm coated in crawling fire, but I did notice a previous nest had grown. Remember the failed ant trap? It’s time to show you its neighbors.

They were a bit peeved that I had just watered the earth they had claimed as their own. I gave them a wide berth.

Enough about the ants though, there are still some plants growing thanks to this lovely mild-for-us summer.



8 comments on “Calamine, calamine, calamine lotion…

  1. Aw, honey…I feel for you. We don’t have fire ants – though I well-remember their bite! – but our tiny black ants swarm and cover and bite, too… They love the edges of the beds. Long as I jump back fast enough, I can get away with just a few welts. Then the birds can feast on the exposed nest 😀

    • plumdirt says:

      Which birds? I don’t think any birds here will mess with the fire ants. Perhaps I could outfit the birds with fire-ant-armor and train them to attack? 😉

  2. Shannon says:

    Hm…not sure if I really “like” that post! I have had only one successful (of the 10 or more I’ve tried) solution to fire ants in the garden. I hadn’t tried the ant trap and was hoping you’d have success with it!

    BTW, when we do get bit/stung by fire ants, there is a product which takes both the pain and the itch away and minimizes the “pimples” that they ultimately make on my children. It’s an acne solution called Zap It that we repurpose for stings. I carry one in my purse at all times. Life saver!

  3. Alice says:

    Ouch! I hope the ants can read and are passing this around the anthills. I garden attired like a deep-sea diver. Darn bug bites.

  4. Fire ants sound awful! OUCH!! I’ll be interested to see how your new bait works – i do hope it does!!

    • plumdirt says:

      It’s supposed to rain today, so it’s not out yet. I’ll put it out tomorrow if there isn’t any rain added to the forecast. Fingers, toes, and eyes all crossed that it works.

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