25 July, 2008

More on These Freakin' Fire Ants

Fire ants - Curse or scourge? This is a big issue and one I just wasn't even aware of. Go ahead and Google Fire Ants and Electric Fields and see what you come up with. It boggles (or is it "googles"?) the mind.
Fire Ants - Curse or Scourge?
Here's a brief sampling of some of the links:
"They are somehow attracted to electrical equipment and crawl into air conditioning units and the electrical wiring of stop lights, shorting them out. This is the leading cause of traffic light shorts in Texas, where the ants cause more than US$140 million in damage each year. Several ant species, including fire ants, have been shown to contain ferromagnetic nanoparticles that may contribute information about the geomagnetic field for orientation during foraging or migration.[3] However, it has not been found that electric or magnetic fields attract the ants.[4] Rather, when wandering ants cause electrical shorts, they attempt to sting the wire and produce powerful semiochemicals, including defensive and recruitment pheromones.[5] The chemical signals draw additional ants to the short. The only effective protection is to bar ants from the equipment physically or with insecticides."
Fire Ants and Electric fields
Ants get a transforming charge - why ants invade outdoor electrical equipment
The Sutton Corporation ( markets a product designed specifically to combat fire ants in electrical equipment. Its JS-685® Protection From Fire Ants in Electrical Equipment, comes in a handy spray can for twice-yearly application and it meets Mil Specs too. According to their product brochure, excerpted below:
Sutton Corp. Brochure Snippet
Get the picture? Wow! These little critters are a real pest - and destructive too. I'm going to make sure to protect my electrical stuff and especially the well house and pump. I just had no idea they were so into technology.
Devouring Humankind?
Lest we forget... These little critters also bite flesh. Yes friends, in addition to an insatiable appetite for electrons, they crave human flesh. As an example, while I was working on the gate doorbell re-wiring, I got bitten. I thought it was just one bite, but they also practice a stealth form of bitery. I received not one, not two, but three or four bites. and Here's what they look like this morning. Yes, they itch, a lot.
Anyway, I am going to sprinkle some ant powder around the floor and near electrical stuff in the well house and around the gate motor. And, I'll be more vigilant in keeping track of the status of all our elctrical stuff, especially those bits outside and that are more exposed and vulnerable.


Anonymous said...

You got bit pretty good (or bad?)! Most everyone I know has fire ant bite scars around their ankles. I get bit pretty frequently in the summer. They itch like crazy!!!

Dave Rider said...

Itch is right! The weird thing was, I was wearing Crocs as usual, with several of them crawling in and out of the holes - nary a bite on my feet.