|fire ant workers|
|marching little red ants|
So, are these ants good or bad in the garden? First, bad because of what I hated most about them. These tenacious little creatures called fire ants have vicious sting that is painful and can be dangerous enough to cause some allergic reactions or something close to that effect. Unknowingly, they would be creeping, crawling fast to my feet and up towards the extremities and bite then the next thing I knew I was stamping them away like crazy. Oh, how those burning, piercing stings itch afterwards!
Ants can loosen the soil in young plants, causing them to die. I've noticed that ants are always present when aphids thrive in plants. Spraying a mixture of water and detergent helps in getting rid of them both. Attacking my son's newborn hamsters was the worst thing they ever did. Like the carnivorous piranhas, fire ants devoured all nine baby hamsters in just a day. Horrible!
|fire ant up close|
So much for the gory part. On the positive side, these little social insects can improve air circulation in the soil, improving water drainage with their burrows. In short stories, ants are always perceived to be hardworking, helpful and industrious creatures. Aside from being such, they seem to be brave soldiers, ready to defend their queen and their kingdom come hell or high waters. Anything that causes disturbance in their turf means war.