Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Red fire ants found during exotic ant surveillance

Red imported fire ants found during exotic ant surveillance

Red imported fire ants have been found at the Port of Napier during surveillance activity undertaken as part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) national invasive ant programme.

Amelia Pascoe, MAF’s Programme Coordinator says the finding of approximately 200 red imported fire ant workers over the weekend immediately triggered a pest eradication response. MAF incursion inspectors are on site today carrying out intense surveillance to find and destroy the source nest/s.

The ants were found in attractant bait traps which had been set in high risk areas including warm sunny sites close to water sources such as open drains and creeks, dripping taps, leaky water mains, grassy areas, the base of trees, under debris, logs, rocks and other areas favourable for ant colonisation.

Surveillance of these areas in the Napier region has been underway for the last fortnight. Although it is not clear how the ants may have entered the country, sea containers are a known risk pathway for the entry of unwanted pests. Since 1 January 2004 six sided inspection of all sea containers has been in place with further checks at MAF approved transitional facilities during unloading. Additional checks have been put in place since the red imported fire ant find. Amelia Pascoe says red imported fire ants are a serious unwanted pest that will aggressively defend their nest, swarming out and over the mound to repeatedly sting anything that appears a threat. If red imported fire ants were to establish in New Zealand they would pose a serious competitive threat to our native fauna.

A sting from a red imported fire ant is similar to that of a bee or a wasp and results intense burning or itching. A blister forms at the sting site within five hours and a distinctive white pustule develops within a few days. The stings although uncomfortable are not dangerous to most people. However, the pustules can become infected if scratched, and on very rare occasions people may have a more serious reaction.

Based on advice received from the Ministry of Health, Amelia Pascoe says people who show symptoms of a fire ant sting should seek medical advice. Infected stings are treated using antibiotics. If you believe you are having an allergic reaction it is important to seek medical help immediately.

Over the last three years, as part of its national invasive ant programme set up to assist the early detection of red imported fire ants and other exotic ants, MAF has focussed surveillance and monitoring activity on high-risk locations such as international ports, transitional facilities, container yards and some nurseries. An isolated find of a single red imported fire ant nest was made at Auckland International Airport in March 2001. The nest was destroyed and ongoing surveillance has found no further nests in the area.

Red imported fire ants are native to South America. They are reddish-brown in colour and their size varies from 3 to 6mm in length, an ant longer than 6mm will not be a red imported fire ants. Red imported fire ants build mounded nests of fine granular soil of variable size and height – up to 40 cm. Depending upon colony age, some mounds may not always be obvious.

If you think you may have found a red imported fire ant nest, please do not disturb it, but call the MAF Exotic Disease and Pest Emergency Hotline on 0800 809 966.

For more information on exotic ants go to: http://www.maf.govt.nz/biosecurity/pests-diseases/animals/invasive-ants-brochure.pdf

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news