Reality Check: The Ants Go Marching Two by Two…

ant invasionI always laugh when I hear comments from friends who think that our life here in rural America is one long parade of beautiful sunsets, berry picking and picnics in the meadows.

Don’t get me wrong, we have lots of those. But there are also many other unsavory parts of rural living.

These are the things that we country folk like to keep to ourselves. But for the sake of reality, I will expose one rather nasty part of country life- BUGS.

At any given time on any given day in the spring, summer or fall, you could find a wide assortment of strange or unusual bugs crawling or buzzing through my house. (If only the kids would remember to  close the screen door!)

Flies, wasps, mud daubers, June bugs, moths, lady beetles, and a variety of spiders are just the ones that I’ve identified.

But right now I’m fighting a losing battle with ants. I get them every year about this time and they take over my kitchen. One year I had made an angel food cake for Pedro’s birthday the next day and left it sitting upside down on the counter while we all went to VBS.  When we arrived home, it was covered with ants! I’m not talking one or two ants, I’m talking covered! They had even burrowed inside!

That meant war.

I threw it to the chickens, put the kids to bed and stayed up until after midnight baking a new cake for his birthday. Then I took the cake to bed with me to keep it from the ants. (I might not have been thinking very clearly by that time- but it did work! It was ant free in the morning!)

As for getting rid of the ants, I can tell you a half dozen things that don’t work! But it would be faster to tell you the one thing that does, Terro. We put some out on a piece of cardboard and those little buggers start drinking it like there was no tomorrow. (It’s rather fascinating to watch in a morbid kind of way.)

Then they take the poison back to their nest and wipe out the whole colony. (Can you hear me laughing?!)

Ahh…but there’s a problem! I’m having trouble finding Terro. I have my last bottle sitting upside down on a piece of cardboard right now hoping there’s enough drops to wipe out this huge colony. They are eating it up as fast I can get it out. Some are even climbing the sides of the bottle to get more!

And so the hunt for Terro begins…because this is one battle I aim to win!

Too Many Ticks: Lyme Disease Alert

Dog TickThis is the worst season for ticks I can ever remember. They are a part of life here in the country that you just learn to deal with. But this year they are thick!

We noticed that they like moisture and are more numerous in years with a wet spring. This year has been very wet and the ticks are everywhere.

My hubby and I took a walk the other night and when I came home I had over 25 tiny ticks crawling around my ankles. Yuck!

The larger ticks, Lone Star and Dog Ticks are bad enough, but at least you can see them.

It’s the Deer Ticks that cause us the greatest concern. They are so tiny you don’t even notice them. They look almost like a very small moving freckle.

My Father-in-law contracted Lyme Disease about three years and it took several months for a correct diagnosis to made. He was a very sick man. After several strong rounds of antibiotics he has recovered although he still has residual pain in his knees.

Needless to say, we take ticks very seriously around here.

We do frequent and careful “tick checks”. If we are in the house, we put all ticks into a small jar of rubbing alcohol to die. This is the one sure way to kill them. They Tick jar and Tick Tapefloat when you try to flush them down the toilet and then have a tendency to climb out. They are impossible to crush and cutting them in half with a knife is rather disgusting. So the tick jar works very well for us.

When we are outside walking or hiking, we carry a roll of masking tape with us, we call it our Tick Tape. (It fits around your wrist just like a bracelet.) When we have a tick, we just use a small piece of tape to pull it off. Then the tick is stuck on the masking tape and dies. We just throw the piece of tape away.

Every once in awhile we miss one. My hubby found a deer tick attached about two weeks ago, I just found one this morning.

When this happens, we try to isolate the tick and keep it. Then we watch for symptoms beginning with the rash (which isn’t always a bull’s eye, but can look like other things) and then the severe flu like symptoms.

So far so good on my hubby and we’ll keep watching mine…