It’s All Picnics And Cartwheels Until The Fire Ants Bite

Mysteries | Posted by Jannie on 14 September 2009 @ 7:21 AM 63 Comments

So, me ‘n Kelly romped in Zilker Park late one afternoon a couple weeks ago. (Zilker connects to our hike-n-bike trail I showed you recently.)

Shared our picnic with the birds.

Had a little snooze.

And celebrated the brand-spanking new bermuda turf which has transformed our previously dusty soccer practice fields into this dreamy expanse.

To walk from this spot to the nearest of those buildings would take about [15 to] 20 minutes, in case your fertile inquiring mind was wondering.

We were also celebrating that Kelly finally lost a tooth.

I was really surprised it took her until almost eight to lose one, especially since a few of her bottom permanent teeth have already grown in behind the baby ones.  Oh well, every kid’s different.  And getting the adult teeth later can actually make them stronger, I read.

And below, yours truly, by the snaggletooth photographer.

Then things got really interesting…

Searing pains shot along my arm resting so comfortably on the glorious new grass.

FIRE ANTS!!! I4 bites in all.

My arm 3 days after the attack, still quite swollen and very, very sore.  The pustule stage came a few days later, sorry I didn’t capture that for you.  :)

Encroach on a fire ant nest and they’ll wait til a bunch of  ’em are on you before one of them gives the signal to chomp down simultaneously.  And chomp those freakers do.  Quite expertly.

I spent a very unpleasant night after I got bit, considered going to EMS but opted out once Benadryl relieved my breathing, swollen face and head-to-toe itching.  I’d had multiple bites in the past but this was my worst reaction ever.  My skin all went bright pink!!!  Hilarious.

Luckily Kelly suffered no bites at all that day.   And equally luckily she is not allergic to fire ant venom, as I am.

What I learned that afternoon — never ever let my guard down in Texas against fire ants.  Ever.  Even if I  don’t see an apparent “hill”  they could still be lurking.   Bastards.

My arm is good as new, tho!

And I’m going back to that field this morning.  See you there!

P.S.  I’ve been a little out of the blog reading loop with Kelly’s birthday and its on-going wonderment this past week.  So watch out!  Jannie’s gonna pop in to your place soon.


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  • 1

    On 16 September 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Tess The Bold LIfe said, 

    I love the photos of Kelly and am so sorry about the fire ants. Yuk! People are always talking about them in AZ and you just showed me what they’re so concerned about. Thanks to you I’ll be taking them more seriously and be more careful.

    I do hope you feel better. XO

  • 2

    On 16 September 2009 at 1:58 pm

    suzen said, 

    Holy crap! Those are mean ants! The park and photo’s (except your bites one) are lovely – what an icky ending to a lovely day! I’m sure those critters serve in some way in the “big master plan” of life – but they really outta leave US alone!

  • 3

    On 16 September 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Dr. J said, 

    Thanks for commenting on my column, Jannie! Funny, just after I read this post, my pest control guy who was here, said, “Do you want me to spray that fire ant mound by the garage?” Well, YEAH!!!

  • 4

    On 16 September 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Aimee said, 

    As my son would say, “Bad bugs!” I’ve never had a fire ant experience, or even seen one, but I don’t think I want to. I hope you’re feeling better…less itchy, swollen, and red.

  • 5

    On 16 September 2009 at 4:27 pm

    VeRonda said, 

    OMG… This is horrible. I was going to say how funny the title was with the first pic until I scrolled down. That sucks… Man…

  • 6

    On 16 September 2009 at 7:19 pm

    She said, 

    Those ants did a number on your arm! I got bite by a bunch of fire ants in band camp once years and year ago. I didn’t notice until someone else pointed out they were all over me. They tore my poor feet, good thing I wasn’t allergic.

    Those pesky things love their sneak attacks on you.

  • 7

    On 16 September 2009 at 7:26 pm

    teahouseblossom said, 

    Aggghhh, fire ants!!! I’m glad you jumped up before you got any more bitten!

  • 8

    On 16 September 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Jannie said, 

    I am going to bed. Will be delighted to touch base with you here tomorrow and answer not only the comments on this post but the 2 or 3 previous ones too I see a new notes on.

    Soooooo tired!

    Something I wonder… Is green tea really good for you? And if so, why?

  • 9

    On 17 September 2009 at 2:56 am

    SnaggleTooth said, 

    I drink Green tea every single day. It does give me energy n make me feel better. Without it
    I drag- It’s full of anti-oxidents, it helps with digestion, plus I really have developed a liking for it n now don’t want to go without!

  • 10

    On 17 September 2009 at 7:18 am

    Lynn said, 

    I am around so much concrete in Atlanta that I don’t notice them as much, but I’m sure they are there. Your park looks so much like our Piedmont Park – that’s where they are lurking I’m sure. :)

    Green tea seems a little bitter to me (probably steeping it too long.) I much prefer Red Tea and it has antioxidants, too. I like the straight stuff, but my sis likes the Red Tea with Chamomile right before bed and it keeps her sleeping all night.

  • 11

    On 17 September 2009 at 9:43 am

    debbie said, 

    I so hate fire ants. And bless your heart. Those bites look so painful.

  • 12

    On 17 September 2009 at 3:16 pm

    MiaHysteria said, 

    OUCH! I’ve never been bitten by fire ants…at least I don’t think I have. By your description, I don’t know how I could miss it. It sounds like it was a horrible time for you (at least at that time). So sorry, but happy the Benadryl kicked in and you’re all better now.

    Whoo-Hoo for Kelly losing the tooth!

  • 13

    On 17 September 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Julie said, 

    The park and fields are beautiful! Too bad those dumb ants had to come along. I’ve never been in an area where fire ants were a problem, and good thing – knowing my luck I’d get bitten and swell up like a balloon!

    Green tea is good for you, it has a lot of antioxidants (and being a science major I can say that and know it’s true… and how it works!) and as long as you don’t chalk it full of calories, you’ve got a good healthy drink. :)

  • 14

    On 17 September 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Jannie said, 

    I do NOT deserve you all.

    I know you’ve hear this before, but I totally WILL be answering these comments soon. Totally dudes and dudettes.

    And I know like, you come here 50 times a day, hanging on my every syllable. :) :) :)

    In fact, you live for Jannie Funster and put me above all else. :) :) :)

    Trying to juggle some Real Life things now but I imagine I’ll be freed up in just a jig’s hair, whatever that may be as I just made that up.

    And just wondering…

    They served us a good-looking piece of carrot cake today except it had mold on one side and when we sent it back the waitress said it was ’cause of the walnut and walnuts go bad fast. Have you ever freaking heard tell of that? I’ve known walnuts intimately ALL my life and I think that was just a hogwash excuse.

    We decided against the cake after all. Still, I left the waitress a $5.00 on a $20.00 tab ’cause I blame the owner, not her. You think?

  • 15

    On 17 September 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Meredith said, 

    Those bites look really bad. I feel for you.

    Early in June, my honey had his first ever fire ant experience, and I realized I kind of take for granted how horrible they are. He’s from Europe, and he was really shocked, first yelping, “oh, something burned me!” and then, once he understood what had happened, saying we have “torture insects” and they should be labeled as “venomous” like snakes are, and so forth. His skin also had a bad reaction.

    I’ve only ever had one bad reaction, and it was when my foot was literally covered in bites, and my whole leg swelled up to the knee. Yikes! Hope it heals up quickly. And so glad your sweet little girl got spared :)

  • 16

    On 17 September 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Karen said, 

    Oh my gosh! I had no idea the severity of injury fire ants could do.

  • 17

    On 18 September 2009 at 5:31 am

    Cath Lawson said, 

    OMG Jannie – those bites look sore – vicious little buggers. I’m allergic to mozzies and get really nasty bites and swelling, so I can sympathise.

  • 18

    On 18 September 2009 at 6:53 am

    Jannie said, 

    Karyn: Tell your nephew to STOP that messing with fire ants! And something about the protein in the fire ant bite makes it different than other bug bites. You were right on remedies spelling. And yes, I think it was some kind of rose, 4 of you concur. And I trust my peeps!

    Liara: Well, I could be pretty chipper after the fact. But thank you for your lovely words.

    Holly: I well know what you mean about standing on an ant mound. And THANK YOU about that meat tenderizer. Consider it part of my car kit and caboodle now. Almost makes me want to rush to a nest and get bitten just to try it out – Not. :) But thanks, thanks a lot.

    Robin: And I actually think they are down in their little lairs right now (probably very elaborately-designed lairs,) plotting new schemes right now new ways of terrorizing. The birthday wonderment was lovely yes, went on and on. I CAN’T BELIEVE she’s eight!!

    Snaggle: You noticed that eh? Me calling her by your blog name! Hurrah. And your comment about what you would need if the civilized world ended, makes me think it would make a great blog post. What would you take wit you, kind of thing. I’d take my Burt’s Bees chapstick, the one with the zinc in it. And my blue bra.

    Lena: In Canada this summer the beach midges gave Kelly about 50 bites on her sweet little legs, which was a lovely site to bring back here to Texas. :) Yesterday I walked all the way to the very end of the field, it goes a little further than from where I took these pix.

    Mama Zen: Freaking yeah, Girl! But it’s all past now. Yay!!!! Funny, I usually go all summer without getting a single bite, then whammo – at the end of the season I get bit, never this bad tho.

    Ana: Fire ants are very small and reddish. With big evil horns, gold teeth. And they dress all in black leather. :)

    Carol: Yes, I love those 2 pix too equally well, as you can see, sandwiched the other ones between them. Funny, that first pix, I flipped 180 and set as our computer back ground p in full screen, which made her look as if she were holding up the world, but Jim made me take it down as it made him feel dizzy.

    Sara: Yes, you know what I mean. 80 US deaths so far. Florida’s rife with them too. LOL on their tatoos! Gave me the idea in my comment to Ana, just above. Now don’t be a -getting a big, big bunch of bites, okay??

    Yaya: You’ve noticed that, eh? GREAT and apt observation. Yes, my arm hurted me and i felt bad. and sad. and mad at those durn critters. :)

    Pink Momma: Well, yo, baby! Nice to meet ya. :) I likes pink too, but have actually started alternating it with the likes of blue and green on my personnage.

    Davina: Thanks you me all bedder now. Ouchies all gone, still a bit visible on my delicate skin, but so history , whee-hoo!!!

    Thomma Lynn: I sure hope those ants have not yet reached your mountain?! And never will. It was so amazing to actually be able to lie on the grass in Canada without fear of attacks. Sat in some thistles, tho! And the beach midges were bad by times. And mosquitoes too. No black flies tho, those are hell. No moose flies either, which can bite like bastards.

    And now, a slight break for station identification, to put up my new post, then come back and revel in the rest of your comments here. Whee-freakie-hoo!

  • 19

    On 18 September 2009 at 8:52 am

    Jannie said, 

    Deere Glenne; I seed yoo kame back to reeding mor adn komminting. and my jannies britchees akshully light gray but mebbe had fated wit times.

    Lance: Well, you do keep me expanding my comfort zone and have greet suggestions here. Thanks! Mis-matches socks? How about jeans with two different =colored legs. And did you know I have blew eyes? — one blew east and one blew west.

    J.D. Bite them back. You make me laff a lot!

    Tess: Once you’ve experienced them you get what the whole kerfuffle’s about indeed. May their bites forever remain a mystery (and never a misery,) to you.

    Suzen: I bet in heaven fire ants are the most amazing chefs, or something. Must be a place for them in a master plan, yes. What do you think it could be?

    Dr J: My husband used to pour gas down their nests and light them. To direct new-comers to out place we just had to tell them to look for the house with all the smouldering spots in the yard. Now we just leave them alone. And wear shoes outside at all times.

    Aimee: Bad, bad bugs. Hope you never encounter them either, tho you will no doubt see them when you and I are sipping margaritas in the sunset, pondering the illusion of time’s passing.

    VeRonda. It was a moment for me to count my blessings. And a learning experience to never trust the innocent-appearing grass here.

    She: Hello and welcome!! Sorry I got behind in my comment responding for a while (that does happen to me from time to time.) And sorry you know first-hand about these little buggers. The bites between the toes are The Worst, I think. And the ones on the butt.

    Teahouse, lovely blossom: It was just a searing pain, but I saw no ants. Then my arm got all white patches on it and started to swell. Then I started to itch. Then breathing got bit labored. And my skin got bright, bright pink. But I gud now!

    Jannie, you naughty thing!

    Snag: I need to think about making it a part of my lifestyle. I think it’s caffeinated, but I need to check on that. As I already have enough caffeine a day.

    Lynn: Were you aware that it was on ships that landed in Mobile in the early 1900s, from South America that fire ants came? Blame it all on Alabama!! :) Red tea, eh? I must look into that, thanks!

    Debbie: You’ve been bit, I take it? Ouchie.

    Mia: May you never get a bite. And yes, still so happy here about her tooth gone, and the one beside it soon ready to jump ship.

    Julie: Lynn mentions green tea is a bit bitter for her, so I would most probably, yes chock it full of cream, sugar and such. And wash it down with fries, a burger and a thick slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

    Jannie: Still can’t get over the moldy walnut.

    Meredith: Hi and Welcome, so humbled at your visit and comment. Thank you! Yes, exactly — you feel like you’ve been burned. Poor hubby. And poor you on the swollen leg — I know Exactly what you mean on that. Sucks.

    Karen: Educational here, eh? They’re really nasty, you’d never think in this day and age in this fine nation of ours something like these could exist — in urban America. Yet they do. And they suck.

    Cath: (Wow, last comment!) And did you know they can survive quite long without food and water. Incredible little surviving monsters.

    back to bed soon. Kelly’s home with a low fever today.

    No trail for me but I shall attempt 700 buttock lifts and 10 bicep curls this afternoon.

  • 20

    On 19 September 2009 at 6:50 am

    robbi said, 

    Festerbit;Sorry that i yam wot you gots bit bi sum bad things.Miffed i is wot wee dunt get to see does pimply things all yellowed up an gooey. I do likes that look, rilly tho yore arm looking cutey pie wif alla red thingys tu, yu shuld keep um likes that, betta thun a tattoos ani daye!Menni huggies two kelli, shee do good piccy things,evun makes u look gud!

  • 21

    On 19 September 2009 at 7:10 am

    Jannie said, 

    Deere roobi: my jannie is sleeping but she wood thank you for werds here on her festerred bits. shee all better nowe. BUTT i wonder about yor werds about kelli even make my jannie luk gud. you choosed EVEN make my jannie luk gud, liek my jannie is not lukking gud usuilly??

  • 22

    On 19 September 2009 at 7:15 am

    robbi said, 

    Blu Bunny: Oh rabid rabitt, ’twas butt en twusted joking thung rilly,youse Janninny does lukking gude ALLA tyme.I wud sending xxxx’s butt she does gots a jim thingy fer that sew i sending yu sum xxxxxxxxx

  • 23

    On 19 September 2009 at 7:19 am

    Jannie said, 

    deere robbe in ‘stralia: that’s mor like it! 😉 my jannie wood send big kissings to youe too. i goes wakes her now so she can anser kommints one the newe poste

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