Print Columns   |   Web Chats   |   Blog Archives   |  

End of the World, Part 6574: Killer Fire Ants

In our continuing series on animals that seek to destroy us, I am pleased to present the killer fire ant, now making its home in Virginia.

My favorite quote from a victim of these critters: "The way they bite, you would think they were the size of an alligator," said Carl Lohafer, a Virginia Beach resident who discovered colonies in his yard two years ago. "It was like a hot poker jabbing you."

Now a Virginia Beach man has been killed by the killer ants.

Of course, this being a critter-loving country, there are folks who love killer ants, just as every time I write about killer deer, I am besieged with letters from Bambi-lovers. In this case, we have a Florida myrmecologist (guy who studies ants) who somehow got Harvard University Press to publish his 723-page ode to the killer ant. (Cancel the "somehow" in that last sentence; this is what these people do. Publish or perish and all that. Next big scare: Killer university presses.)

I think we can all agree that killer bees were more amusing, and it's probably worth noting that three decades after the big killer bee scare, a great many of us are still alive. (John Belushi, however, is not.)

But killer ants are coming your way. The end is nigh. More duct tape, please.

By Marc Fisher |  October 2, 2006; 7:41 AM ET
Previous: Rumblings of Change at Rev. Moon's Paper | Next: George Allen's Seven Measly Words

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



I read somewhere that fire ant colonies can be destroyed by spreading a can of instant grits near the nest. The workers carry them back to the nest and any ant which eats them is killed when the grits expand.

Posted by: none | October 2, 2006 10:50 AM

2,153,056: Total attendance this season at RFK Stadium in 2006, an average of 25,581 per game - or precisely one fan fewer per game than the Baltimore Orioles drew this season.

Posted by: Orioles beat Nats! | October 2, 2006 11:40 AM

Grits, huh? They are a pretty nasty food item. I hope the ants doesn't bit Marc and cause all of his hair to fall out. Tee-hee!

Posted by: WB | October 2, 2006 5:59 PM

Grits, huh? They are a pretty nasty food item. I hope the ants doesn't bite Marc and cause all of his hair to fall out. Tee-hee!

Posted by: WB | October 2, 2006 5:59 PM

Grits, huh? They are a pretty nasty food item. I hope the ants doesn't bite Marc and cause all of his hair to fall out. Tee-hee!

Posted by: WB | October 2, 2006 6:00 PM

Sorry. Didn't mean to post three times. I thought my computer was freezing up (again). Gotta love technology!

Posted by: WB | October 2, 2006 7:29 PM

I have a copy of that book, Walter Tschinkel's The Fire Ants, on my shelf, right here in my office. I'll probably never get around to reading it, but I do like the cover art. (I love ants in theory, but I put my barefoot in a clump of fire ants once, and it was not a happy experience.)

Posted by: h3 | October 2, 2006 9:10 PM

Fire ant bites feel like white hot needles. Living in Tanzania we sometimes let our guard down and walked through high grass. If the ants lurked there they would sneakily crawl up legs looking for soft flesh. Once on a quick shortcut to my daughter's school assembly we were ambushed by ants.

You have never seen pants dropped so suddenly! And they can't be brushed off.They must be pulled out of your flesh one x one. What a hilarious sight. Since we were moving there was no real danger. Just searing pain.

When in formation they can swarm into a house and really apply a great cleaning! They scour every nook and cranny. But best to get out of their way. When finished, they leave.

Posted by: Tashi | October 3, 2006 10:40 AM

I didn't know about fire ants until I spent a week at a vacation cottage in central Florida. I made the mistake of standing on a dirt patch while wearing beach sandals. I grew up in the Midwest and in rural Maryland, and we thought nothing of playing outside in bare feet. How prevalent are fire ants in the US?

Posted by: Tonio | October 5, 2006 10:03 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company