There are a lot of wild creatures that I don’t mind dealing with. If the rats stay out of the house, I say let them go about their business. I found a snake next to the house on Saturday, and it wasn’t poisonous so I let it be.

There’s a a gigantic spider on the back porch and I don’t figure it’s bothering a thing so I don’t bother it. If most any kind of bug gets in my house I try my best to put it in a napkin and put it back outside. As long as the wasps leave me alone I try to leave them alone.

There’s a horsefly that lives in my car and goes everywhere with us. Sometimes he buzzes around my head. I don’t like it but he isn’t really hurting anything.

But there is one culprit that I am having a real hard time dealing with and that is fire ants.

I’d be happy to leave them well enough alone, except they are taking over.

I cannot go five feet in my yard without seeing one of their little villages. If I get rid of one, ten more pop up in its place. They are everywhere. They even get in every single one of my raised garden beds.

I feel really terrible killing ants. They seem like they are very smart little creatures and I admire their work ethic. It’s quite amazing to see how they dash about to repair their little mounds after they have been stepped on.

These little workers are hard at it all over my yard. It seems like anywhere I choose to sit my chair I can look down and see lines of them moving here and yonder.

If I had a nickel for every fire ant bite I have received I can tell you I would be a rich, rich woman.

I recently learned that fire ants are not from here, but were accidentally brought here on cargo ship that came from South America. I wish those little fellas would have hopped right back on that ship and went on home. But that didn’t happen and now we are all left to deal with them.

When I worked for the newspaper at Fort Benning in Georgia, no matter where I went for a story I swear I stepped in a big old ant pile. They’d get in my shoes, and there I’d be embarrassing myself doing a little dance trying to get them off of me. I was never fast enough at that and always ended up with several bites that itched and burned and festered for days.

I still manage to get bitten all the time in my own yard, because as I said their mounds cover the property. The boy is quite good at steering clear, but little sister steps in them often enough. The other day she curiously stuck her hand in a mound and came running to me with a fistful of fire ants. I have found that immediately spraying apple cider vinegar, a cure-all in my opinion, will keep the bites from being so bad. I sprayed her bites with that and she barely even whined, but I don’t know how she kept from wailing.

I am surely ready for cool weather for many reasons, but one of the main ones is because I need a break from fire ants (and the mosquitoes which are now giving the ants a run for their money on which is the bigger nuisance). Until then, maybe I just need to start wearing my tall boots outside at all times.

Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at

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