Steamed fire ants, anyone?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by herman 48, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. herman 48

    herman 48 Songster

    161
    171
    101
    Jun 9, 2017
    This afternoon we had a little emergency. My wife looked out the window and saw that Lacey, a middle-aged bantam, had somehow gotten out of the run and was happily scratching through leaves and dirt looking for bugs without her sisters' competition. We don't let our chickens out--too many predators around. My wife and I went out, and I walked all around the run trying to find where she could have dug her way out. I found three or four spots, but none of them seemed large enough for her to get out. I shoveled dirt onto those spots, and I placed a heavy live trap I use for coons, possums and foxes against the fence where there seemed to be another likely escape route. Then my wife and I concentrated on capturing the fugitive hen--not an easy job, because she was weaving in and out of the pasture, which is enclosed by an electric fence, walking under the fence. Finally I had a bright idea. In the feed shed, close ro the run, I had a bag of "wormies," those dry mealworms that we give the chickens now and then as treats. I stuck my hand in the bag, and began to toss wormies to the chickens that had stayed in the enclosure. Lacey heard their contented clucking, reserved for savory snacks, and came running, darting in through the door we had left open for her. While my wife closed the door I began to feel like needle pricks on my hand and my arm. Dang! The bag of wormies, half full, was crawling with ants. I dropped it immediately and brushed the ants that were still on my hand and arm exercising their right to sting bare arms. Now I was really peed off. I am rather stingy, and the thought of having to throw away about fifteen dollars' worth of wormies stung me as much as the ants did. What could I do? I ruled out spraying insecticide on and inside the bag, that was now swarming with hundres, thousands of the little devils. Then the traditional light bulb flashed brightly above my head. "Cathy, quick, bring me a white garbage bag!" She did, held it open for me, and I quickly tossed the bag of wormies into the garbage bag. I had my wife tie a not to close it, and I brought it into the house. Into the microwave oven it went! I gave it three minutes on high, and the bag swelled up with steam released by thousands of ants and whatever moisture was present in the worms. A smell very similar to that of popcorn wafted through the kitchen. I pulled the bag out. I could see through its translucence that the tiny bodies were motionless, but I still waited a couple of minutes to let the steam cool off. Then I cut the bag open, pulled out the bag of wormies, that still looked all right, and placed it open by the a.c. vent on the kitchen floor, to cool off. They are not going back into the feed shed, believe me. Then I sat in my favorite chair, turned on the p.c. to write this post, and I felt one last pinprick on my side. I lifted my shirt and found the last of the Mohic-ants on my side, next to a nice red spot that was rapidly growing into an angry bubble. Oh, how I enjoyed squishing that ant slowly beteween my thumb and forefinger!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    87,278
    128,909
    1,817
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Did it taste like pop corn ?
     
  3. herman 48

    herman 48 Songster

    161
    171
    101
    Jun 9, 2017
    I was afraid someone would ask... No, too peppery--because of the steamed fire ants mixed in with the wormies!
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    87,278
    128,909
    1,817
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    :goodpost:
     
    mixedUPturk and WannaBeHillBilly like this.
  5. WannaBeHillBilly

    WannaBeHillBilly Crossing the Road

    3,283
    11,778
    882
    Sep 2, 2018
    Big Chimney, WV
    My Coop
    Oh i hate fireants! I hate, hate, hate them! :mad::mad::mad:
    Moved from Germany to Houston, TX and didn't even know this pest exists! Nobody warned me! We bought our first house in the 'burbs and i wanted a nice backyard and started to plant flowers. Crawling on all four through the yard (never crawl on all four outside in Texas!!!) i hit a fireant nest with my legs. It felt like somebody had poured red hot lava over me! I got stung all over my legs, even under my feet! When trying to get rid of them i got stung in my hands and arms, ended up hosing myself down with the garden-hose, stripping naked in the backyard! I ended up in the ER where they couldn't do much for me other than painkillers and antibiotics. That was 2008! I still have the scars on my legs and they start to bleed when my skin gets really dry.
     
  6. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Crowing

    1,315
    1,560
    296
    Oct 20, 2014
    Arizona
    Herman,

    Now you gotta go find out where they came from ...
     
    mixedUPturk and WannaBeHillBilly like this.
  7. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Crowing

    1,963
    5,137
    377
    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    We don't have fire ants here yet, thank God. I did encounter them in TX, shudder.. . But we do have those itty-bitty sugar ants. My dad used to call them piss ants, I don't know why. The fastest way I know to kill those little sugar ants AND erase their trails, is with Windex. Yup, Windex! Spray them and they curl up dead right now. Wipe out their trail and none of their sister ants will follow. I don't know how or why it works, it just does! Maybe it would work on fire ants too.
     
  8. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Crowing

    1,963
    5,137
    377
    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    Oh I meant to ask.. what did the chickens think of their steamed ant flavored wormies?
     
    mixedUPturk and WannaBeHillBilly like this.
  9. herman 48

    herman 48 Songster

    161
    171
    101
    Jun 9, 2017
    That's easy. They come from everywhere! There are dozens of anthills in every acre of my property. Fire ants (three species--one native, the other two "imported") are everywhere. When we hunt for doves around here, if a downed dove is not found and picked up immediately, within 1/2 hour it will have ants crawling in and out of its beak and feathers and if you eventually find it and pick it up you'll get stung. Once I placed one on on top of the hay bale I was hiding behind and was stung when, a few minutes later, I grabbed it to put it away in the cooler where I keep my beverages and the dead doves. Fire ants are a real scourge, here. Apparently they have contributed to the disappearance of birds that nest on the ground--such as quail--because they eat the chicks alive when they hatch. They survive floods by forming rafts of thousands of ants all locked together that float away on flood waters until they drift onto dry land. The queens lay millions of eggs. You can't kill ants fast enough to keep up with new ones born all the time to replace them. There are some baits that are effective against them, though. They come in tiny pellets that you scatter around the nests. The worker ants pick them up, go back to their anthills and feed them to the larvae and to the queen. Once the queen and the larvae are dead, there are no new generations to take the place of the existing ones that have been killed by the poison and of the surviving ones that die of natural causes (and individual ants don't live long), and eventually the anthill dies. But there are so many anthills around, and new colonies ready to expand and take the place of those few that you have been able to get rid of. It's like trying to empty the ocean with a spoon. You can keep the property around the house clear of them if you constantly fight back with those poisonous baits, but it's a never-ending fight. They don't seem to like getting into houses, though, as the tiny sugar ants do. At least I've never seen them inside. But I spray long-lasting insecticides around doors and windows to keep spiders and roaches out, so it may be that they are forced to stay out--I don't know. One thing is for sure: where there are fire ants colonies you don't go around barefoot or wearing flip-flops, and you must always watch where you step. If you step on an anthill or stand long enough by one, even shoes and socks will not protect you. They'll swarm by the thousand out of the nest and crawll all over you, under your pants, under your shirt, each one of them stinging you repeatedly. And those who are allergic to insect stings may die. Each sting leaves an itchy sore with a whitish top, where pus formed. And these sores last and itch for days, before they heal. Nasty critters, these fire ants, no doubt. But there are worse things in the South, such as six species of venomous snakes, black widows and brown recluse spiders, "cow killers" (velvet ants--that are not ants but the wingless females of a species of wasp, whose sting is considered the second most painful insect sting in the world), red wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, mosquitoes and gnats, horseflies, alligators, and--naturally--hurricanes and tornadoes... But there's no other place I'd rather be--and I lived in so many places before: Italy, Germany, California, Montana, Alaska...
     
  10. herman 48

    herman 48 Songster

    161
    171
    101
    Jun 9, 2017
    That's easy. They come from everywhere! There are dozens of anthills in every acre of my property. Fire ants (three species--one native, the other two "imported") are everywhere. When we hunt for doves around here, if a downed dove is not found and picked up immediately, within 1/2 hour it will have ants crawling in and out of their beaks and their feathers and when you eventually find and pick it up you'll get stung. Once I placed one on on top of the hay bale I was hiding behind and was stung when, a few minutes later, I grabbed it to put it away in the cooler where I keep my beverages and the dead doves,
    I haven't given them any yet. Today I will.
     
    mixedUPturk and WannaBeHillBilly like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: