Yeah, Amen to the pet thing.
My two cats and small dog keep me at their service cleaning up after them in one way or another! My compostable cat litter (S'Wheat Scoop) is great. It doesn't stink up the compost pile! The yard is rich enough that I never have to do anything at all to my dog's contributions...they just become part of the soil. He doesn't even bother to go in the same place because there's no odor to take him there after a couple of days. I just make sure the compost is finished before I use it so that there is no chance of passing on any pathogens to my herbs or vegetables. That bird poop is awfully hot...remember too much nitrogen burns plant roots too. That's why you want to compost the material. You'll eliminate some of the problems you are seeing.
Yes, you can just spread the cornmeal around the base of the roses but if you have that bad a problem, straining the cornmeal and spraying it on as an addition to your compost foliar feed would be effective. The cornmeal seems to work by increasing the levels of beneficial organisms in the soil; trichoderma & other beneficial fungus according to one of our fellows. I just know that it works every time I use it. That's good enough for me.
Attack thrips? That's a new one!
Sorry for your fiancee but I never heard of that before! Flying and landing on you, but not biting. Blast them with water and knock them down/off and I'd spray with garlic/pepper tea in the compost tea too. That puts them off as with other sucking insects. If you get desperate you can resort to a pyrethrin spray but I'm surprised the soap hasn't killed them off. Mainly, like all the other pest situations, you need to increase the health of the plants they are on and they will leave. The cornmeal will go a long way toward that.
Fire ants hate healthy soil. I knock them out with a drench of 1 cup compost tea (manure based), 1 cup molasses, 1 cup cornmeal and an ounce of d-limonene concentrate. Mix these ingredients to a gallon of water and drown the mound. They will die out within a week. If you have a good population of nematodes they should finish off the job. Spraying regularly with molasses makes a big difference too. My animals have no idea what a fire ant is. They've never had to deal with them. Use your hose end sprayer and give your whole yard a nice big dose of compost tea and molasses and watch them go away. The grits work too but hey, why duplicate efforts and spend money you don't have to? Get a little bottle of tea tree oil and if/when you or your daughter get bitter, rub it in immediately. That goes for those irritating little spider bites too. I swear by that stuff!