Why I don't wish I were in Dixie


Ah, the South in the summertime -- land of creeping kudzu, stifling humidity, and the fire ant:

In the 70 years since the imported red fire ant sneaked into Mobile aboard a ship from Brazil, no insect has been more vilified or subjected to such a relentless chemical assault from Southern homeowners, gardeners and farmers. Even the government joined the quest to kill the pest, but through it all, the fire ant has not merely endured, but prospered, expanding from its original beachhead in Alabama to populate 320 million acres in 18 states. ... In retrospect, some researchers conclude that the assault may actually have aided the spread of fire ants by eliminating competition from more than 50 species of home-grown ants.

The only vaguely successful attempt to control them, at least that I know of, unfortunately involves introducing another pest: the "coffin fly," a humpbacked pest that lays its eggs in the ants' heads, and also in human corpses. Even Faulkner couldn't have come up with this stuff.