Cities across the continent are having hissy fits because of infestations of bedbugs. Offices and dorms in Manhattan are being invaded, the Toronto Film Festival is afraid for visitors, it's a dire situation out there.
The critters have also shown up in Houston, of course -- we tend to welcome with open, bitten arms any kind of annoying insect -- but apparently not to the degree that there's panic. Here, we're more concerned with the annual fight against fire ants.
Which are worse, bedbugs or fire ants? Let's examine.
1. The Embarrassment Factor
Let's face it, a guest in your house gets attacked by bedbugs, you're going to pretty well mortified. You'll be like that one kid who got lice in the hair in elementary school: No one forgets. If a guest sees a fire-ant pile in your backyard, on the other hand, all you'll probably have to endure is a 30-minute briefing on the best homemade recipes for killing those things.
2. The Damage Factor
Fire ants sneer at the results of a bedbug "attack." That's like, we don't know, a light brunch for them, or an appetizer. Unless your victim is screaming and saying "fuck" at least 10-15 times a minute, it doesn't count as damage.
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3. Getting Rid of Them
This is apparently impossible in both cases, so it's hardly worth discussing.
4. You Know Where Bedbugs Are
The bed. Either avoid it, or spray the thing down with as much toxins as you think necessary. Fire ants, on the other hand, lurk anywhere in the great outdoors. Your toddler goes toddlin' off in your backyard to explore the glories of Mother Nature, 30 seconds later he's a bawling, insane mess. And you're a sucky parent for letting it happen.
5. Making Things Worse, In The Most Horrible Way Possible
Say you're caught in a flood. You live in Houston, so it's not exactly far-fetched. You (or your kid, if you're still an awful parent) goes out into the street to play in the waist-high floodwaters, despite the warnings about doing so from all the TV reporters standing in the same waist-high floodwaters. What's this floating lazily by? A branch? A bunch of flowers? Let's just touch it and -- OH MY GOD IT'S A HUGE BALL OF FIRE ANTS.
Let's see bedbugs do that, and we'll talk.