I really hate ants.

And I apologize to any arthropods that might happen to be reading my column this week, but you little buggers have sure been a pain in my neck … and arms, and legs … for the past couple of weeks. I mean, I know it’s getting a bit chilly outside here in what would normally be sunny Florida, but I’m sorry – you can’t stay here!

Long-time readers of this column know that I’ve certainly had my problems with pest control in the past, and purely for amusement purposes you might be interested to know that sadly those problems have packed up and followed me here to my latest residence, much like the famine and pestilence and dysentery that tracked the wagon trains of early settlers across the Midwest as they searched for land, more land, and also gold that happened to be located on land. How bad could these ants be in comparison to violent diarrhea and projectile vomiting, you ask?

Let’s just say that at least both of those activities just sort of eventually run out of fuel, so to speak, whereas rashes can go on for weeks … just ask my fiancée and she’ll be happy to tell you in between itches!

Honestly that’s the real reason for my latest siege on all things creepy crawly, specifically targeted to ants of the fire variety – my fiancée is just a little bit allergic to their bites and thus it’s kind of in my best interests to see that she doesn’t have any run-ins with the little devils, at least when walking around our own yard. Of course, such an extermination attempt isn’t easy when you’re dealing with a species that just builds their houses right back up the moment you knock them down…

…that is, once they’re done “defending” against the latest attack, mind you.

Anyone who lives down south can vouch that fire ants are one of worst things you can find in your yard, with the exception of those big, lizard things with teeth, mind you! We’ve all got our different wives tales for getting rid of the tiny beasts – some people claim that dumping a pot of boiling water on their nest with scorch them out, while others even swear by feeding them grits or rice with the belief that it’ll expand in their stomachs and make the little guys explode (kinda like the old seagull / alka seltzer trick). I, myself, have always enjoyed the classic method of just rudely kicking their anthills over as I pass by on my way to the mailbox or beyond – it’s probably a bite-worthy offense in their eyes, but there’s just something rewarding about watching them all scramble around like mad as the roof of their house is scattered every which way!

Unfortunately, though, aside from scattering their nest to and fro and spreading a fury of really mad fire ants across the driveway, this ultimately doesn’t really do much to resolve my infestation of a problem, as those little buggers typically then have the entire rest of the day to regroup and plan their next move. I guess what I really need to do is truck myself down to the hardware store and pick up some fire ant poison to take out the little bastards for good. Is it a cheap move? Well, sorta, although I suppose kicking the roof off of their home isn’t exactly what one would consider above the belt, either, but hey – this is war and when my ankles and those of my loved ones are at stake, I’ll stop at nothing to rid these grounds of anything small, hungry, and venomous.

Unless, of course, the little denizens wouldn’t mind just packing up and leaving on their own accord? If you want, I’d even be happy to help you guys relocate to one of our neighbors’ yards, that is, once we’ve had time to figure out which ones we like and which ones we’d like to make bitter enemies out of by infesting their lawn with an army of fire ants. I’ll tell you what – I’ll give you guys a week to think about it. Once you come to a decision, just let me know – I’ll be the one inside applying yet another layer of calamine lotion to my fiancée.

But just between you and me, you probably shouldn’t let her get wind of our little arrangement – she has a very strict policy against negotiating with fire ants…