Bad news / Good news

I found a bunch of ants scurrying around a corner of my house, next to a hole in the stucco, and with what appeared to be wood dust next to the hole. So I call an exterminator for an initial phone consultation and after describing the situation, the helpful young woman tells me the

BAD NEWS: “It sounds like you may have carpenter ants nesting in your foundation.”

Now, if you know anything about carpenter ants, well, suffice it to say that comparing these tiny terrors to termites is like comparing Hemmorhagic Fever to the flu. But then she gives me the

GOOD NEWS: “We’d be happy to send someone out to inspect your house. We’re running a special now, and the initial fee will be waived for the inspection.”

The inspector comes out and checks my foundation, the hole in the stucco, etc., and gives me the

BAD NEWS: “Sir, you definitely have an ant infestation problem.”

Which he then follows with the

GOOD NEWS: “These aren’t carpenter ants, and your house’s foundation is in no danger from any insects.”

But then of course, he has more

BAD NEWS: “These are fire ants. Getting rid of carpenter ants would be a cake walk compared to these guys.”

So of course I ask what the cost of getting rid of them will be, and he tells me that fire ants are considered a community health problem, which leads to the

GOOD NEWS: The county will pay all extermination expenses.

But, because this is a county run program, there is some

BAD NEWS: It will probably be a few weeks before the county agents will get around to my property.

I live on the Texas Gulf Coast. I know fire ants.

Go buy a bag of Green Light Fire Ant Killer at your local nursery or hardware store. Apply to infestations according to instructions on the bag.

Problem solved.

There’s also a fairly effective fire ant killer called “Orthene” that you can use outside around your foundation and on any mounds you find in your yard.

I wouldn’t use it inside mostly because it smells faintly of rotting meat. The smell only becomes noticable if it’s in an enclosed space. BTW - you’ll want to store what you don’t use somewhere like a garden shed or the garage because of the faint scent.

On the bright side, this stuff kills the ants within a few hours.

Happy hunting.