Red Fire Ants

Playing golf a few days ago I laid a couple of my clubs down on the ground for a minute or two.  Little did I know at the time, that I laid them on a red ant hill.

Unknowingly, I met some red ants.  They did not spend any time introducing themselves to me.  They did not ask if I wanted to play or talk with them.

No.  The red ants I met just decided on their own to literally invade me.  They got on my shoes.  They got into my socks.  They got on my hands, and then they walked, or ran, up my arms.

I felt attacked.

Now, I realize that using the word “attacked” may shock some of you.  how can a 6’ 220 pound man feel “attacked” by an ant that is smaller than this “I” !!!!!

First of all, I was not attacked by one ant.  No, sir.  I was attacked by an army of red ants.  Many, and all at once.

Secondly, they are very nimble and quick.  My efforts to brush them off me were futile.  They were everywhere it seemed.

But, most importantly, they bite, or do something that makes you wish you had never met a red ant.

I started itching.  My feet, my hands, my arms.  And I kept scratching my arms and hands, trying to get the bevy of red ants off of me.  I could not stop rubbing my skin.

It was actually worse than that.  All of a sudden I am having trouble breathing.  I am short of breath.  I am struggling to breath.  At the time I had no idea that this was related to red ants.  My first thought was that maybe I am getting Covid 19.  But, after 15 minutes or so I start to breath normally again.  What a relief!  But that was a scary 15 minutes.

Only a day later did I understand, after checking in with my doctor’s office, that such a reaction to red ants is not uncommon.  What I should have done was take an antihistamine.  But little did I know.

Now I have done some research into red ants.  Many call them fire ants.  Whatever.  All I know is that they are ubiquitous, ever present and irascible.  These are not words that you normally associate with ants. No, sir.  But believe you me, they have gotten my attention.  I will now be more than careful when I reach down to the ground – making sure that I am not disturbing a red ant hill of any kind!

RIFA’s are red imported fire ants.  They are invasive in this country.  I believe they come from Brazil, or maybe Australia.  They sting.  One ant can sting multiple times. They eat anything.  They are known to be more aggressive than any other species of ants.  Each sting can bring a welt that can be infectious.  They can cause an allergic reaction that can be deadly.

As I am writing this, I find myself itching all over, using my hands to rub my arms, scratch my hair and head.  Behind the ears.  As if I have red ants all over me.  But I don’t.  they have gotten into my head, not literally.  Egad!

To give you some idea of what we are talking about here.  A single fire ant queen is the reproductive ant of the colony.  She may live up to seven years and can produce up to 1,600 eggs per day.  A single colony can have as many as 250,000 workers.  Whoa!

However, I need to put things into perspective.   There is the Corona Virus, Covid 19.  And there are red/fire ants.  And yet, the ants have gotten my attention.

7 thoughts on “Red Fire Ants”

  1. Good to hear from you Neil, after a year of covid. Glad to hear you are covid free.

    I’m sorry to hear about your plight with the fire ants. Thanks for telling me about what could happen, if they get on you.
    I think it’s your height, you are 6″ up there, you can see on top of refrigerators! You are so far away from the ground, that you don’t notice it, and the crawlies that exist there.

  2. Wow, Neil! Was this at ORI?
    I still have scars on my ankle from fire ant bites 15 years ago. I now instinctively recognize and avoid their ant hills; so will you.
    Wishing you a safe recovery. Janet & Tom

  3. So sorry! I do know about red ants. I was bitten while playing golf with you years ago. What a painful experience. Stay away golf courses! That seems to be their domain! Perhaps stay on the pickle ball court. Humm

  4. I was attacked by red ants while standing at attention in a drum and bugle corps competition in high school. up and down my legs – merciless. I feel your pain!

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