We have always lived in the Midwest...except I did live in Phoenix when I was in my 20's but that's beside the point. Anyway, my thing is....My husband might have to transfer to Huntsville, Alabama in a year or two. I do not want to go because I worry about my dogs and poisonous snakes, spiders...fire ants. Anyone who lives in the South, have your dogs ever been hurt by any of these creatures? How do you live having to constantly watch for poisonous creatures around your house and in the park? We love to go hiking and I don't know if I'd ever go if I lived down there. Am I worrying too much?
Wow, you must think we live in the wild wild west here. I live about 250 miles due south of Huntsville in Alabama.
My responses to your questions are "No, No, and No."
I've seen the occasional little black scorpion, but this particular species has a sting that is no worse than a wasp sting. I've seen 1 black widow, only seen poisonous snakes on the roads usually after they've been run over by a car. I have never felt any more worried about poisonous snakes or spiders living here than I have anywhere else.
Now fire ants are a little different. They build large ant hills (called mounds). I actually live within about 15 miles of the Tuskegee University and Institute, and about 5 years ago they imported a particular type of fly that preys on fire ants. Since the introduction of those flies I have noticed a significant reduction in not only the number of fire ant mounds, but the size of them. These flies are awesome, they literally terrorize the fire ants and keep them from spreading as badly. The only bad thing about them is that they are not very cold weather tolerant, so in September/October, when the weather drops below 45 or so, the flies vanish for the winter and suddenly the number of fire ant mounts triples in what seems like a few days.
There are a ton of very effective fire ant mound killers you can buy at any garden or feed and seed store. Since the mounds are so obvious out in the open (they're usually built in open areas of the yards), they are extremely easy to avoid when you take your dog out on walks. And you can sprinkle the poison on the fire ant mounds to kill them, it works within about 12 to 24 hours.
I've only been bitten by a fire ant one time and it was when I kicked a mound while wearing sandals to see if it was still alive.. It was. Yes I know, not the smartest move I've ever made ;P I'm sure Bowen or Riddick have been bitten at some point in their lives, but again, as the mounds are sooo obvious animals just learn to avoid the mounds.
It's not like the movies, where they're roaming around in groups of millions chewing down vegetation and anything in their path. They generally stay veyr close to their mounds.
***Edited By: Minniyar on 6/2/2005 9:20:51 AM*** Reason: add
LOL! The wild west...Well...actually when you've lived some place where you don't have to worry about poisonous bugs it really freaks you out to think about it. Can fire ants kill a dog? Do they attack, like would they cover a little dog? And black scorpions?!! Now I have another thing to worry about!
I have never seen the degree of swarming that would be needed for a dog, even a small dog, to be killed by fire ants. Even when you kick a mound, it takes about 3 seconds for the ants to come out of it. Most dogs that encounter the mound are running through it, so their feet are out of it before the ants even realize that the mound is touched. For dogs that sniff it, I can see them getting bitten on the nose, but I bet they only get bitten one time..
Again, the scorpions (which are not that common) have a sting like a wasp sting. It is not poisonous, and I wouldn't even go see a doctor for it.
As an aside, I grew up in Indiana, my family lives outside of Chicago. I wasn't worried when I moved down here, neither were they, or are they when they visit. And I've seen no cause to be worried, honestly. You are paranoid, definitely ;)
fire ants oh yea, We live in Fl and we have many. The dogs don't seem to bother them (maybe they are smarter then us). DH gets into them doing the lawn work. There are things sold in stores to kill the mounds that seem to work well. Welcome to the South.
I live in Tennessee and the chances of your dogs being hurt by poisonous snakes and bugs are about as remote as they are where you are now.
As a southerner there are good things and bad things. I have lived in Tennessee my whole life and never seen an alive poisonous snake and the dead ones were in a presentation at my childrens school of what to stay away from.
Cricket, watch for the lizards with the little tiny rope! ;)
Ln, the only southern state I have ever been to is Florida. Other than that, I have never been to any state east of Kansas, lol. So I had no idea about these bugs and such either. I live in Colorado, and the worse danger you see here is rattlesnakes, which isn't even all that bad. And actually, the only time I can ever remember seeing those is when we go to this one Wyoming Reservoir on vacation. So they're not even in Colorado when I have seen them. I can totally understand your worry though, because I am scared to death to ever live in Arizona because someone told me once that you have to shake out your shoes before you put them on because there could be a scorpion in them! EW! And then people will say, 'Oh, that's very unlikely..it could happen, but never does'. So I guess all states have something to make us paranoid, when really, it's not that bad. lol. I could play amateur psychologist and say that maybe you not wanting to move may have nothing to do with worry of bugs. *Puts on funny looking glasses and scratches on a notebook* Maybe it could be being away from family or fear of a new situation....lol
***Edited By: Huntersmom on 6/2/2005 10:40:50 PM*** Reason: added
Thank you lorieb. And Huntersmom you are probably right. I would definitely miss my family. My husband is a Mechanical Engineer supervisor at the arsenal here and they are being transferred to Warren, MI and some to Ohio and some to the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. He could take a demontion and stay here possibly.
I don't think the South is backwards. It's just that when you have lived some place where you don't have to worry about those things and then going some place where you have to it's a totally foreign thing. Actually I'm not the only paranoid one because others here always comment on having to worry about things like that.
If I were in Florida I'd be worried about taking my dogs near water. Of course here you could have a great horned owl come swooping out of the woods and scoop up a little dog. I guess there are dangers everywhere just different types and getting used to them.
As a midwesterner, who has lived/visited most sections of the USA, Alabama is definently not the wild west...LOL. Need some tee times for the Golf Trail..my pup can caddie..Minniyar know of any good group rates??
Very true, there are dangers everywhere it's just that you don't pay so much attention when you're used to them. While I love the snow, the thought of living somewhere that I might get snowed in and actually have to stay inside and go stir crazy would scare me. I know everyone is laughing, but it's the truth. When I went to California last summer all I could think of is I hope they don't have an earthquake while I'm here. Then I'm going to Vegas in a couple of weeks and I worry about what if we have a hurricane while I'm gone, lol. Just call me the worry wart. Fire ants are bad here, but have never seen them hurt a dog. Snakes, yes we have them but see them rarely and know where to be careful at. Now, the newest thing where I am (very far south) we have been having problems with Africanized Bees and a couple of days ago there was a nest that got disturbed and they attacked a GSD. Now, vector control was out right away and the dog is ok, but it just seems there is something everywhere. And an owl??? OMG I would be nervous wreck with Ariel. LOL, I guess I'm a bit paranoid myself. Oh, and don't forget the tornados in the midwest, the way I see it is living with the threat of hurricanes at least we have advance notice!