Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Right Way and Wrong Way to Kill Fire Ants

Randy R. Cox

Who wants to know the right way to kill fire ants? There are lots of fun ways and green ways and old wives tales to kill fire ants. Some work; some don’t work at all. http://www.earthpress.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-not-to-kill-fire-ants.html

Don’t bother with the corn meal or grits. The story goes the worker ants will carry the meal or grits deep to the queen, feed it to her, and then it will swell in her stomach and she will die. The only thing that will happen if you feed the fire ants is they might get a little more fat than they would have otherwise. It doesn’t work.

There is a right way and wrong way to kill fire ants. Boiling water will kill them
and the grass around their mound, but this is only a little more effective than stomping on them. You won’t kill all of them; they’ll be back!
If you do this repeatedly, they will move somewhere harder for you to reach with a real method. The fire ant just keeps coming and coming.

A few years ago, a few authority sites promoted a wonderful green way to kill fire ants. Club Soda or carbonated water poured directly into the center of the mound was supposed to push out the oxygen and replace it with carbon dioxide and suffocate the ants.

It sounded great; but it didn’t work.

Other ways widely reported but also ineffective are baking soda, winegar, molasses, plaster of Paris, and aspartame.

One of the new ways that might have some use, but not yet proven involve totally drenching the ant mound in a solution of dishwashing liquid and citrus oil.

Bait treatments work. They are designed to be taken deep into the mound and fed to the community over time. The good news about bait is it doesn’t require dangerous poison to be sprayed everywhere over a general area. The bad news is if it is stored in a garage or storeroom anywhere around petroleum products, the ants won’t touch it.

Some places sell worm castings or worm feces. It is supposed to be a good organic repellant, but it sounds more like fertilizer to me. It is probably better for the grass than bad for the ants.

Researchers have introduced various varieties of Phorid flies to certain Texas counties and reports are they are spreading to more. http://www.uts.cc.utexas.edu/~gilbert/research/fireants/fireant.html The fly dive bombs the fire ant and injects an egg into the fire ant. The egg hatches and eats the ant from the inside out.

You can’t purchase these flies or acquire them in any practical way. All we can do is hope they work in the long haul and hope they don’t introduce new problems to the delicate ecosystem. http://www.sbs.utexas.edu/fireant/index.html

Chemicals, especially orthene kills fire ants. If you use this method, be careful to not kill any of the native ants like the black sugar ant or especially the large relatively peaceful red ant. They are natural enemies of the fire ant. If you kill them, you’ll have a bigger problem when new fire ant invaders come later. You won’t have the allies that you had before.

Remember the horned frog, or the horny toad as they were called in North Texas when I was a boy. They used to be everywhere, but we don’t see many of these anymore. Some say the poison set out for the fire ants killed them, but other sources say the horned toad is inclined to feed on the ants, but are overwhelmed by the aggressive nature of this species. It is said the ants smaller than the red ant, but extremely aggressive will swarm over the horn toad and enter the nostril. Once inside they sting the toad and clog up his breathing tubes until he dies.

New exotic solutions will continue to emerge in the future. We’ll all continue to try them and be disappointed for the most part. We can always hope. When we’ve had all we can stand we can turn to materials that do work and finally win the battle if not the war

How Not to Kill Fire Ants

Randy R. Cox

They say everything in Texas stings, bites, or scratches. If you don’t want to find this out first hand, you need to know how not to kill fire ants.

Back in the last Great Depression—1984--a lot of small Texas business men were forced to find jobs to supplement their struggling businesses. Our Art Gallery was a ghost town, so I took a construction job to keep the doors open. I met another small Texas business man in similar shape and we worked together for a couple of months.

He was a welder assigned to work with an electrician…me. He had a country welding business in west Texas. Over the long ten and twelve hours days we soon ran out of true stories, but before we got to that inevitable position, he told me about his fire ant problem.

All my stories are true, but some of them are more true than others. This one is gospel.

Folks with work during these days were prone to lower the wages and insist we take breaks on our own time between 12 hours shifts rather than during them. This old welder was the only worker on the job happy with the wages and conditions.

He said farmers wouldn’t pay much for welding or anything else for that matter. He said if he charged a living wage, they’d just do the welding themselves. So he was making what seemed like a fortune. They paid time and a half for overtime, and he thought that was like winning the lotto.

Anyway, he said he lived in a trailer on about 50 acres of land. His trailer was on blocks a short distance from a country gravel road, and across the road from him was a real house with a front porch that ran across the full front of the old farm house.

He had never spoken with his neighbors, but they waved as often as they saw each other. Folks in Texas waved at everyone in those days. Anyway, like everyone else in Texas, he had an ongoing battle with the fire ants, and the ants were winning.

One Saturday morning, the welder was shaking his head at the new mounds the antshad built under the walking stones he had placed from his driveway to the trailer. He had tried all kinds of poison and he was worried that his dogs were eating as much of it as the ants were. He suddenly had an idea. Ants breathed oxygen just like people did. He thought he might just fill their hole with Acetylene and let them breathe that for a while.

His neighbor and his neighbor’s wife were sitting on their porch watching him as he unrolled the rubber hose from his welding truck parked in the driveway. He waved at his neighbor’s and they waved back.

He stuck the torch of his rig deep down in the fire ant hole, and stepped well back as those ants attacked the torch in full force. He turned on the Acetylene and waited for the gas to filter through the network of the mound.

Just then his wife called out from the trailer. He had a phone call.

He jammed the handle on his torch handle to keep the gas flowing and went into the house to answer the phone. He intended to take care of business quickly and return to his project shortly.

Once inside, he was distracted by whatever problem the phone call presented and he forgot about his project. After a longer while than was prudent, he hung up the phone and suddenly remembered the hose he had left flowing. He ran outside and turned it all off.

A lot of the ants were dead and those that were still moving were moving slowly. He thought he had “done good!”

He rolled up his hose and put the torch away. He waved at his neighbors on the porch across the road and again they waved back.

With his rig all buttoned up, he looked back across the road at his neighbor just in time to see him pull out his pipe. Before he had time to process this new development, the neighbor flipped open a Zippo and lit the pipe.

The flower bed exploded. Dirt and fire ants filled the air. His neighbor and his neighbor’s wife were stunned and covered with dirt. They began to dance. The dance grew intense and the two swatted and scraped at their bodies. Soon articles of clothing began to be ripped off and fly off the porch.

The old welder got to know a little more about his neighbors than he really wanted to know.

This is not the best way to kill fire ants! Don’t try this at home!

The internet is full of old wives tales on how to get rid off fire ants. Fire ants are relatively new to North America. What do the old wives know about fire ants? If the horned toad or the lizard can’t handle the fire ants, the old wives are not likely to know what to do.

Other ways How not to kill fire ants

To get right to the bottom of the problem and rid yourself of the fire ants before they rid themselves of you you’ve got to use orthene. It works!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wearing Hats indoors or out be wicked cool

Wearing hats indoors or out be wicked cool!

After Eve talked Adam into eating from the tree of knowledge, they suddenly saw their head was naked. People have  been trying to look cool ever since. The fig leaf just didn't cut it in the early world or in the modern one. 

People wear hats for all kinds of practical reasons. A construction worker wears a safety hat. A fireman wears a hat to protect him from falling timbers and burning debris. Baseball players wear caps to keep the sun out of their eyes. 

Whatever the reason you wear a hat, you might as well look cool--wicked cool is even better. It’s worth giving a little consideration.

Nobody asks  what you think about the things you pass on the

street or at work day after day. You get what they give you.  From the top of your head down to the ground you stand on, you get some choice in what you wear. What you put on your head tops it all off and makes a personal statement to the world. 
If you have nothing to say, then wear nothing.  If you want  to stand out in a mediocre world, hold your head up high and put on a cool hat. Pick carefully. It’s your head. 

Here are a few  questions you need to ask yourself. Look in the mirror with your hat on  as you answer these questions.

  • . Does the shape of you hat complement the shape of your  head?  If your face is oval, you can wear just about anything you like.If your face is v-shaped, you'll need a small brim to minimize the differences of width between your forehead and your jaw.  If your face is round, try something that stretches the total presentation of your head.  A tall crown might add dimension to your face.  Something with a few angles might contrast well with the symmetrical design of your face.  Stay away from large round brims.  Medium to large brims are okay as long as they are not so large as to flop about and frame your face concentricly.  If you have a long face, a wide brim will give you balance.  A short crown will de-emphasize the length of your face and give spruce up your overall appearance.
  • Does the shape of your hat match the shape of your body?  If you are tall, a wide brim works best.  If want to emphasize your height, a tall crown will do that; if you do not want to emphasize your height choose a shorter crown.  If you are medium to small in stature, a larger hat will make you look smaller, and choose a narrow brim with a short crown. If you are a large person, then a large brim is okay; choose the crown to suit your face.
  • Does your hat fit properly?  If your hat is too small, you'll just give yourself a headache.  If it is too large, it will blow.  Either way, you won't be wearing long.
  • Is the style of your hat appropriate for the season or occassion?. The hat should fit the occasion, but it is better for the hat to express who you really are than project the occasion only with no reflection of your true personality.  It's okay to choose your hat to show who you want to be as much as who you are.  You grow into your hat.  The hat makes the person; don't be afraid to redefine who you want to be.
There is only one hard and fast rule.  Look cool!  Look wicked cool!

A Texan Takes Another Look at Arizona Immigration Law

Okay, I've been chastised for my opinion on this law by some people that I greatly respect.  I was told the Police were mandated to stop people that looked like they might be illegal.  I was told the Police were not required to have good cause to ask for identification.  I've been listening to a lot of talking heads, and they say things that terrify me, so I decided to do a little more investigating in case I made a mistake supporting this.

I have not read the law.  I am not a lawyer, but I will read it when I can find it!  I hate that lawyers are so powerful in this country that they make it illegal to give a legal opinion about a law unless you are a lawyer.  That is bunk unless you are charging for that opinion.  We are expected to follow the law even if we are ignorant of it.  I believe freedom of speech gives us a right to give our opinion about any law.  If we give our opinion, it would naturally be a legal opinion...except we can't give "legal opinions" because that would infringe upon the lawyers trade.

Excuse me.  I got off topic!  Anyway, I've examined my "non-legal opinon" on what I know about this law so far, and I still like it.

I understand Police are barred from using race or ethnicity as the sole basis for questioning.  So far so good.
I'm told they can only scrutinize people whom they stop, detain or arrest for violations of another law.

Okay, if they have laws in Arizona that  everyone violates like we have in Texas, that could be a real problem.  In Dallas, Texas  it is a violation of the City Ordinance to  drive down Main Street in an automobile.  It seems horses might be frightened and go berserk.  Now if ever there was a law that needs a demonstration, that would be it.  We should need to change laws like that.  Otherwise, if a person is violating the law, he should be stopped.  If he is stopped, his identification should be checked.  If he is illegal  he should be detained and due process of law should begin.

Some are worried about mundane calls to the police department about trash in the yard and cars parked on lawns.  Well, if the law forbids that, then let due process happen.  I am not happy about those of us that may forget to bring our papers with us.  I sometimes run down to the gym for a workout dress in sweats...and forget to bring my wallet.  If I did that in Arizona, I could spend six months in jail.  Ouch!  That's a little harsh, but probably not as harsh a penality as I would get if I made a small stupid joke about a bomb on an airline. The requirement to  carry paper is legitimate concern, but a person in his home parked on a lawn should be able to produce his identification when asked.

I predict Texas will soon pass a similiar law.  Texans hate it when another state proves to be farther to the right than we are.  We also have a huge illegal alien problem.  Maybe I would call them "undocumented" workers if twice illegal aliens hadn't plowed into the back of my vehicle with an uninsured junker.  Any of you "undocument worker" advocates want to pay those bills?

Once I  traded an old truck in for a new one, and then two years later, got a call from a lawyer trying to sue me for running over two people on a motorcycle leaving them is terrible shape.  It seems my old truck was resold to some illegals that never bothered to change the title over to their name.  They just renewed the old registration until the accident where a truck load of them ran in all directions except toward the victims.

I didn't have to pay for those injuries, but it took many phone calls, finding scanning, and sending old records to the lawyers before they stopped bothering me.

None of these things would have happened if those criminals had been stopped at the border.

I am really tired of being called a racist because I want my country's borders secure.  My best friend is from an old Mexican family, now a citizen of the United States.  I love the Mexican culture so much that I decided to learn the language about five years ago.  I can speak it well enough that I was on standby to go to Chile to adjust earthquake claims for a while.  I love Mexican food so much I'm 30lbs over weight.

For decades I've defended the right for people to speak Spanish in Texas.  Spanish speaking Mexicans died in the Alamo trying to win independence for Texas.  Most of those who died in the Alamo were citizens of Mexico.  Some of those that rode with Sam Houston were not Mexican citizens, but then few of them died.

None of my forefathers died in the Alamo!  My great great great grand mother spoke Cherokee.  Sam Houston negotiated a treaty with the Texas Cherokee to stay neutral in that war.

I do sometimes joke with those Americans that think everyone should speak English.  Why don't they speak Cherokee.  It was the most common language of many of the southern states for the first hundred years of American History. 

I want Mexican citizens to have good paying jobs in Mexico.  I'd like to go to Mexico legally and work myself so I could learn even more about that beautiful culture, but I want the traffic across the borders to be monitored and legal.

If Americans suffer because we forget to carry our identification, that will not make me happy and I reserve the right to change my opinion on this after a few border states give it a try.  I'm willing to sacrifice a little to make the Federal Government understand the need for them to secure our borders.  I really don't like that, but the lack of enforcement has created a mess in our country.

I'll never be for turning illegals away from the hospital when they are broken.  Just send the medical bills to their last employer!  If we were to deny medical care to people from other countries, that country would be justified in denying Americans care when they were injured in those countries. I don't think we want that to happen.

If they are going to live and work here, we've got to educate their children, When the parents are stopped committing even the most insignificant crimes, they should be sent back.  Let those children that are American citizens stay with relatives, social services, or go back with their parents until they reach the legal age of consent.  It's a problem, but it was created by criminal trespassing parents...not Americans.

If a child from an illegal is born in America, I'll always be for providing those children with citizenship in the counrty they were born in.  If we don't honor our constitution and  do that, we'd be like Kuwait who has millions of 2nd and 3rd generations of native born people who are disqualified from citizenship.  Those people are stateless, and I think that is a crime against humanity.

I know it gives the tea baggers a headache to think about all these things when they just want to get rid of people that talk and look differently than they do, but they need to think about all the issues before they support a law that greatly affects a lot of people.

Okay, I'm done.  I don't like to get political.  This blog is about more important things than politics.  This is just something I think we all should consider deeply.