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Fire Ants Attack in Local Parks

Angela Monroe

Fire Ants Attack in Local Parks

CREATED Sep. 27, 2012

Cathedral City resident, Paul Stocking, likes to take his dog, Spring, for walks.  But fire ants on the attack are making it anything but a walk in the park.
"I actually get bitten, very badly, I have to watch the dog, make sure she's not bitten, she gets very irritable of course, so it's quite a problem," said Stocking.
It's invasion of the fire ants, a tree trunk can hold 200,000 to 300,000 ants.
And if you think there are more fire ants lately, it's not your imagination.
"A lot of it is due to our climatic conditions we've had this year, the different rains that we've had, the high humidity, this all procreates for the fire ant, makes them just go crazy," said red imported fire ant field supervisor Bobbye Dieckmann with the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control.
KMIR6 Reporter Angela Monroe said, "In an ironic turn of events, I was actually bitten by fire ants working on a story on Wednesday, so I wanted to ask, what should you do if you appear to be having an allergic reaction to those bites like I am."
"You can get swelling of your lips or your tongue, you can have problems breathing, you can even have wheezing, and sometimes you can have full anaphylactic reaction," said Dr. Russell Grant, the medical director of Eisenhower Urgent Cares.
Dr. Grant says if bitten, wash the area, use cool compresses, and take an oral antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory.
But if the person is very allergic --or a toddler-- you could need immediate care.
"If you have any problems with your breathing, if you're feeling light-headed, if you're vomiting, then that's time to actually call 9-1-1," said Dr. Grant.
Paul says the attacks happened in both Demuth and Ruth Hardy parks in Palm Springs.
Vector Control takes care of all schools, country clubs and will be addressing those two parks very soon.
"I believe it's coming up in a couple weeks because they are doing their scalping right now, we have our schedule already set with them, we are doing Ruth Hardy Park Monday, next Monday or Tuesday," said Dieckmann.
And that's very good news for Paul and his dog, Spring.
"We love walking in the valley, and yes, it will be very pleasant, and thank you KMIR6 for taking action so promptly," said Stocking.
Vector Control will come treat your backyard for free if you find red imported fire ants burrowed in your backyard.