Ouch! That Hurts!

White and Yellow Rose with Honeybee Postcard postcard
Here’s one of the roses I was photographing  in Texas when I was stung by fire ants. 

Birdwatchers have a life list of birds they want to see. I, unfortunately, am ticking off a list of different type — arthropods that have bitten me. So far, I’ve been bitten or stung by ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, chiggers, a wasp, a bee, a horsefly and now fire ants. Please no more bug bites! When I was a kid, one of the scariest movies I saw was “The Naked Jungle,” about an attack of army ants on a South American plantation.

Recently, I was photographing roses in a Texas rose garden in when my sandal-clad feet started to itch. I looked down and saw tiny ants milling over my feet. I brushed them off, did some scratching and thought that was the end of it. Most ants rush to protect their queen when an invader (me, in this case) appears, but fire ants, an invader to North America, attack.  They inject a toxin when they sting.

Here's where a fire ant stung me on my toe. I have several of these, they hurt, and they haven't improved in ten days.

My brother-in-law, whose legs are peppered with the tiny scars of fire ant bites, told me that fire ant bites produce pustules. I looked at my toes. No sign of any damage. But then three days later, the pustules appeared. They are more ugly than painful, although they do hurt and itch. There goes my career as a foot model.

Now I know why Texans wear cowboy boots, even if they never get near a horse or cow.  About Fire Ants.


Filed under Entomology, Photography

6 responses to “Ouch! That Hurts!

  1. Can you make your blog interactive? Here’s my idea. You post your arthropod wish list and we, the loyal readers, get to vote on your next “photography” destination to maximize the odds of a bite/sting, so you can mark it off your list. 🙂

    The thought of wearing sandals and standing in fire ants makes me cringe. Wow. There have been a couple of times I’ve been out taking pictures, looked down, and saw insects on my shoes, or felt them on my legs. I don’t care for that very much. It’s easy to forget about the ground.

    That’s a beautiful rose picture. Well done!

    I could post a poll so that readers could vote on locations. I could expand into new regions of horror, such as the botfly. Actually I hope I’m done with all of this insect horror. Here’s a link to one of the projects that I was doing while attacked by those vicious fire ants. http://beautifulworldcards.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/roses-roses-roses-2012-calendar/ Cathy

  2. Hmmm… Seems like Texas is on fire these days, so maybe that’ll give these little varmints a taste of their own medicine!

    All of Texas could burn, and the fire ants would survive… Although, they do need to eat. I think they must have been eating rose petals. I remember when your poor Wily got stung on his nose in Mexico by a scorpion. I certainly don’t want to add scorpions to my list. Cathy

  3. Oh my, that sure looks painful. But your photo looks so professional. Allow me to ask an ‘ignorant’ question… how do you write in the caption of your photo? Is it something we can do in our WordPress editing?

  4. Hope you’re all better by now! Been too long since I checked in on you here. Do I need to send you some Calamine lotion for that bite? I’d stay away from scorpion habitat if I were you.

  5. SandySays1

    Soooooooooo, you have those pests in your area too! My human’s wife went swimming, didn’t watch where she sat when she got out, and got a whole load of “ants in her pants.” Not photographable however. She swears they all wait and bite at the same time!

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