Summertime in Brazil means lots of samba music, sunburns, sittin' poolside, soccer, monsoons, Brazilian barbecue (a.k.a. churrasco) and sweatin' your brains out at about 4:00. But it also means these:
Invasions. Invasions of the worst kind - a breed of animal intent on hurting anything that stands still for more than 15 seconds. You never, ever walk barefoot on the grass in Brazil. And apparently these little buggers have hitched a ride from my beloved country to my other beloved country; they are taking over Texas as we speak. Sorry 'bout that.
This morning I woke up early and ruthlessly sprinkled poisonous dust on more than 20 mounds in our lawn. This afternoon I will pour boiling water on them - just to make sure. Because my compassion for all things animal only extends so far. I have zero pity for tiny creatures that sting and blister my feet into oblivion.
Some people try to convince us that fire ants are the good guys:
Fire ants voraciously consume populations of fleas, ticks, termites, cockroaches, chinch bugs, mosquito eggs and larva, scorpions.
Fire ants are extremely effective in controlling plant-feeding insects and arthropods such as boll weevils in cotton and stinkbugs in soybean. Under some conditions fire ants keep the pest populations below the level of economic loss providing a financial savings to growers.
Fire ants can benefit such crops as cotton, sugarcane, and soybean because they aerate and break up the soil making more water and nutrients available to the plants.
Auburn University/Alabama Agricultural Experimental Station and Texas A&M/Texas Agricultural Experimental Station studies have demonstrated that fire ants can kill other costly agricultural pests which do more economical harm than they do. These insects include the corn worms, cotton flea hopper, army caterpillars, and sugarcane borers.
After a colony vacates a mound in your garden, you are left with beautifully aerated and tilled soil.
Humans are not at the top of the fire ant food pyramid—as long as we keep moving.
Whatever. Die, die, die.