The ants won the war. But not the cute little black ants that invaded our kitchen and bathroom. The fire ants won.
This morning, I held the door to the screened-in porch open for Scout to go out while I stood inside on the porch, out of the rain. A second or two went by, and then, suddenly, my feet were on fire.
I looked down to see that I was standing in the middle of a war zone. The Battle of Antietam was happening on our porch at that very moment.
I don’t know where the fire ants came from. Previously, the only ants we’d encountered were the small, black, sweet kind that just wanted our food. As many times as B and I cleaned them up, they never once bit either of us. These ants were noticeably different and aggressive. I watched as they tore—literally—the small ants to pieces, leaving wriggling carcasses behind.
I got Scout inside, and, baffled as to what I should do, went to work, letting the battle rage while we were away.
This looks like nothing but a dirty porch. But it’s not. All of those little black dots are ant carcasses. They are piled up on one another, rows and rows of them. (Ignore the random boards. The previous owner cut a hole in the screen for her dog to go in and out. We plan to patch it back up. The boards are a precaution in case Zoey slips out.)Most of the bodies are on the other side of the porch door, in the crack between the door and the paver. How many ant bodies does it take to fill up the cracks of this paver and mound above it? This is where I guess that they spilled onto the porch from outside. A small depreciation in the concrete that slips under the porch railing. The battle lines flowed from the porch door around the perimeter of the porch.
That’s when I realized. The fire ants are dead too. All along the perimeter are dead black ants and larger fire ants. B had just sprayed the perimeter of the house a few days prior, to keep the ants out of the house.
So maybe, when it was all said and done, B won the war after all.
(Note: Just because we don’t see any live ants doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to still treat the yard. I spoke with an acquaintance who has a PhD in horticulture, and he said, “There’s no way you can do this organically.” My reputation precedes me, apparently. “Get a fertilizer sprayer, and spread the fire ant food around the entire yard right before it rains. Don’t go from mound to mound. Do the entire yard at once.” So, that’s the plan.)