An Injury to One...

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Pat Brennan (no relation) reports in the Register that fire ants are resurgent in OC. As someone who grew up in South Louisiana, where the ants have freely roamed since Truman was in the White House, allow me to explain what this means to you: it means you're fucked. It means pain. It means little pus-filled welts. It also means that the old union-organizing slogan– "An injury to one is an injury to all"– is absolutely right.

Those of you who remember the fire ant problem being declared under control a few years ago, and felt reassured by the county's own fire ant eradication program, forgot the union wisdom. Once the state stopped funding its anti-fire ant program in 2003, the resilient little monsters started making a comeback in Riverside County, which didn't have its own program. After that, it was only a matter of time before the ants came surging back into OC. The good burghers of OC may not like to think they have much in common with the proles of Riverside, but an injury to one...

For what it's worth, the University of Texas has a helpful online FAQ on fire ants. Among its other virtues, it is only the fire ant site that addresses the question: "I poured a solution of grits and water on my fire ant mounds. Several weeks later they were gone. Why not do research on this?" I've never tried this solution, despite having much experience with grits (it's a Southern thing), and I don't recommend you try it, but you might want to keep some grits on hand, in case you need comfort food after an encounter with the ants.

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