Small creatures, big lessons
Sweltering heat isn’t the only hazard of summer in the Lowcountry. Fire ants pose another seasonal example of nature striking back against our presumably dominant species.
They also provide an instructive example of how far a one-for-all attitude can carry a determined group.
The Post and Courier’s Bo Petersen ominously reported in a front-page story Wednesday that “fire ants are everywhere right now.” He vividly added: “Fire ants clamp their jaws on their prey and sting repeatedly, leaving blotchy, burning, itching sores and tiny blisters. Scratching just makes it worse.”
Yes, those diminutive demons pack a powerful, lingering sting. And though we two-legged sorts have enlisted air power against them in the form of the “decapitating fly,” which is adept at biting off fire ants’ heads, the little red rascals just keep coming.
However, despite the rising menace posed by fire ants, our kind would do well to emulate their remarkable teamwork and resilience. They are amazingly united in purpose.
For instance, there have been no credible reports this summer of fire ants squabbling over how to reduce the national debt.
And they appear utterly disinclined to fuss at each other about cruise ship policies, negative political ads and whether I-526 should be extended.
So protect yourself against the current fire-ant offensive.
But even if you dare to launch a battle of attrition to diminish their swelling ranks in your yard, heed this timeless advice from ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes:
“The wise learn many things from their enemies.”