Thursday, July 13, 2006

Waiting to exhale...

I saw something today that I am almost afraid to blog about. (Will I jinx it?)

A pair of bluebirds were on the nesting box.

I held my breath as I watched them go in and out of the box. As they flew away, I prepared some meal worms and once again rethought all that I did right and wrong. Then something came into my head...I remember that as I was removing the dead chicks from the box, there were ants crawling around inside, and one of them bit me. Fire ants.
I thought back to something I had read on Bluebird Nut about ants. Ants, especially fire ants, can attack and kill chicks.
We had previously tried to eradicate a colony about 3 years ago, but they came back. They live right under my new chokeberry tree, which is not far from the nest box.
Anyone out there ever even entertained the notion that ANTS would kill chicks? I hadn't.
So now, if the bluebirds are going to try again, I will have to smear the pole with grease, oil, whatever sticks.
Ants...*shaking head in disbelief*


LauraHinNJ said...

I guess anything is possible.

Can you tell, is this the same pair? So the mama didn't die?

Susan Gets Native said...

It's either a different pair, or this is the most persistent, brave pair of bluebirds in the world. Nothing may come of this, but if they actually got a nestful of fledglings, what a story it would make!

LauraHinNJ said...

Yeah - I hope that for them (and you).


MojoMan said...

You have fire ants!? I didn't know they had spread that far north. We had them in Florida 20 years ago, and they are very nasty. With Julie's snakes and your ants, I'm getting a whole new view of Ohio.

Susan Gets Native said...

We could make a new State slogan:
"Come to Ohio, to get bitten by something nasty".

dguzman said...

The Texan's easiest way to kill ants--if you have (or can find) two mounds: Take a shovel scoop from another mound and put it on top of your problem mound. Supposedly, the "foreign" ants and home ants will do battle and kill each other, and the foreign ants will (allegedly) go for the queen first.

Note the "supposedly" and the "allegedly" -- this is what I heard someone say when I was in Texas. Luckily for me, we never had them in the yard. Now in PA, I still panic when I see ants, but then I remind myself that they're not fire ants! Whew!

Marnie said...

Hi, just dropping in after reading Birdchick's blog. I'm afraid fire ants have moved in as far north as Toronto, Canada, where I live. There was an article about it in the paper recently. ACK!!! Best wishes to you and the bluebirds!