Friday, February 05, 2010

Killing fire ants and what about termites? That's funny!

Well, it started simply enough. The other day I received a useful tip from my mom. She knows that we have issues in our Jacksonville, Florida yard with fire ants. It's been a few years since I was treated for fire ant bites to my foot and ankle. The doctor said that I had a classic, severe allergic reaction. That shot in the butt was no fun.

So mom forwarded me a tip about Killing Fire Ant Colonies which surely sounded like a worthy tip as I tweeted it too. Here is some of that emailed tip:
Walter Reeves is from the University of Georgia agriculture department specializing in home gardening. An environmentally-friendly cure for fire ants was announced by Walter Reeves on his Georgia Gardener radio program.

Fire ants are picky eaters; any poison that is effective takes seven feeding steps before the queen receives it. If the bait is stored in close proximity to any petroleum or fertilizer products they won't touch it. Contact poisons that are on the market just cause the colony to move away. A well-developed colony can be as deep as 30 feet and spread out some 20 to 50 feet from the mound center.

Simply pour two cups of club soda (carbonated water) directly in the center of a fire ant mound. The carbon dioxide in the water is heavier than air and displaces the oxygen which suffocates the queen and the other ants. The whole colony will be dead within about two days.

Besides eliminating the ants, club soda leaves no poisonous residue, does not contaminate the ground water, and does not indiscriminately kill other insects. It is not harmful to your pets and it soaks into the ground. Each mound must be treated individually and a one liter of club soda will kill 2 to 3 mounds.

Well here is where the termites come into the middle of this family "funny" conversation! This morning I received a reply from my brother in the Cleveland, Ohio area. I surely appreciated receiving that scientific information from him, as I did NOT know this. Here is what my brother had to say in reply to mom's fire ants tip:

… did you know that if you added up all the body weight of all the termites in the world that it far exceeds the body weight of the entire human population.!!!! … and did you know that these same termites emit methane gas which is far worse then CO2 … you won't learn that in public schools!

The story does not end here! BTW, I did share that bit of information on the termites with my hubby ... he WAS a science teacher in a public high school and has a bit of a scientific JOB. Hubby replied to my brother's story, "yes that is true." Wow, I did not know that!

Now, I have a follow-up retort from my youngest sister which struck a chord as pretty funny. Here is what she had to say to my brother's reply:

Nice work. I think Newsweek would accept you as a contributor. But I imagine the outcome as such; the ants realize at once that a trick is being played, and scramble out the least intelligent ants with tiny little straws to suck up the soda with reinforcements behind the sucker line to cart away their exploding bodies. After the attack has been neutralized, they all cheer "Long Live the Queen-Hip Hip Hooray!"

So, I ask you ... aren't you glad to hear an environmentally-friendly tip on how to kill fire ants? Isn't that an interesting fact about termites? And, isn't THIS a funny story? Want to know more about fire ants and termites?


Unknown said...

Your sister is funny, but I hope she's wrong about "Long live the queen!" when it comes to fire ants. I just read your tip to my husband and he's ready to go buy a case of club soda to safely treat our yard this summer. Those rascals are scary - and spreading!

As for the termites, sounds like the makings of a horrible sci-fi movie. Yuck!

Julie Ann Brady said...

Hey Susan! Yes, I surely have a "funny" family. I'm thinking they could do stand-up on the weekends to help offset some of their expenses. Personally, I was really buying into that tip as we have plenty of club soda in our pantry. I wonder will it work if it goes flat?

Hope you are doing OK. Hugs.

Jeff Wendland said...

One nice thing about winter in Michigan is no fire ants, mosquitoes, or any other nasty things that like to bite you.

Julie Ann Brady said...

Oh yes, having lived in Ohio I learned to appreciate that too! One thing I do miss here in Florida are the "lightning bugs" that we would see prolifically in the summer months.

No no-see-ums, love bugs, ticks, fleas or gnats too! ;)

Julie Ann Brady said...

This just in! Today I heard from a fellow reader, Pete, that club soda is a bit of a wives tale for fire ants eradication.

I followed up on the link that Pete provided to find that Walter Reeves himself has now said, "... a bit of Internet hyperbole has arisen ... but I have not 'endorsed' the pouring of club soda onto fire ant mounds. From several replies that I've gotten, club soda has no effect on fire ants."

Well, drat as I had a few bottles left over from New Years Eve that I was all set to try!

Thanks Pete for the heads up! And my severe allergic reaction to fire ants has helped to keep me out of "some" yard work. Hubby is out there now working. Sure wish I could help him, but instead I'm inside on the darn computer!


Cheryl Kohan said...

Holy ants? Sounds awful. I don't think we have them in Minnesota. So can't you get rid of them? Be CAREFUL!

Julie Ann Brady said...

Hey Cheryl! Holy purple cow. ;) Yes those fire ants are some really hearty critters ... they keep going and going and going. Thank you.

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