Solenopsis Invicta, also known as a Red Imported Fire Ant. I hate them with every breath I draw.
Fire ants, as their name "Imported" implies, are not native to the US. They made it to the US border, it's theorised, in a shipment of goods decades ago from overseas. Finding the soil and temperature to their liking, they set up house. A lot. Across the entire South from Florida to Louisiana, parts of Texas, and the entire west coast from Cali to Oregon. And I hate them.
I'd like to find the Customs officer who let that first box of them through. I've got some words for him. Fire ants bear their curious name because their venom is so potent and toxic that a single bite causes intense, burning pain at the site of venom introduction, and in a day or so leaves a massive welt and a pus-filled blister that goes on burning and itching. And they never attack alone. I hate all of them.
The rain, it seems, brings out the worst in fire ants. I guess they just don't like being wet or something. When it rains, they relocate. To everywhere. And that's probably the worst part for me. When it's dry, they make big mounds just like regular ants the world over. Easy to spot, easy to avoid, and easy to pour gasoline all over and set afire. When it's just rained, or when a hurricane has just passed through bringing a lot of water, fire ants take to the hills, or to wherever they can go. For a few days afterwards, they're all over the ground, working on finding a new place to live, and they're more angry than usual. They're also a heck of a lot harder to spot, seeing as they're hiding billions of themselves in the grass, hiding that is until they've covered your bare feet and started biting. I realy hate fire ants.
Yes, I'm covered. Ankles down, I've probably got a good twenty bites. Some of them, lucky me, are even on my toe joints, so not only do I get to enjoy the ongoing stinging pain of the bites I also have the opportunity to feel what arthritic people endure day in and day out--painfully swollen joints. I seriously hate fire ants.
So this afternoon after work I'm headed to the hardware store. Not for a generator, which I'd like to have for next emergency. Not for gardening supplies, which I'd like to use to prepare beds for next Spring. Not even for drain opener, which I simply don't need. No, I'm going for a certain poison that I know works every time, with fair speed. Little yellow granules of death, and I'm going to buy as much as I can carry in my backpack.
Look out, Solenopsis Invicta: a certain Fire Antus Deathicus is headed your way.