So, I’m having one of those nothing-going-right days, and feeling pretty darned bleak about the state of the world today. Thought I’d take advantage of the tropical depression and take my aggressions out on some coral ardisia sprouting up in the woods. Got the bug spray, gloves, shovel, heavy-duty trash bags and set off. Dug up one big mama of an ardisia that had deep roots and tiny baby pups all around. Felt good to dig that up.
And then there was this repeated stinging sensation on my leg. Whipped my pants down and could not find the culprit. Shook them out. Pulled them back up.
Ouch! Another sting, higher up. Did the pants on the ground and the sweeping and the shaking. Didn’t find the culprit. I recognize the sting. I know who it was. According to a webpage called Green Pest Services Florida Ant Identification Guide (link below for full article), our culprit is the twig ant:
“The Mexican Twig Ant (Pseudomyrmex gracilis) sometimes referred to as an Oak Ant or Tree Ant, is a relatively minor pest on the Treasure Coast because they rarely come into homes. They are however quite numerous and common around homes and in commercial landscapes. These long thin ants are orange and black and typically found as single individuals. A sharp eye can spot one almost anywhere outdoors in South Florida. They prefer to live in trees and hedges and use their painful sting to defend their territory. Anyone having to do any tree trimming or landscaping runs the risk of becoming acquainted with this ants defense mechanism.”
Funny how it says a sharp eye can spot them. This is probably true. I don’t have sharp eyes. I only find them when I’m madly hunting through my clothing. I never see them in trees. If you live in a residential area in Florida with lawn service and pest control, you probably won’t encounter these demons. I live out in the woods and get to enjoy nature to its fullest: the ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, and twig ants. It makes me feel better to read that they bite “defending their territory”. I thought it was just random sadistic pleasure, honestly. I have yet to invite one of these things into my wardrobe. But to be fair, perhaps I missed some frantic waving “No, go back! Get away!” from a tree branch.
I dunno. I don’t like them. I came inside, put some salve on and sat down to write this.
May your day be blessed and twig ant free.
Here’s the link to the full Florida Ants Identification Guide I mentioned: