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Neighbourhoods Harbour Unwelcome Guests

Taranaki Regional Council media release

3 December 2007

Neighbourhoods Harbour Unwelcome Guests

Some Taranaki people are about to find they are harbouring unwelcome guests.

Argentine ants are already known to be in Blagdon, Westown, Oakura, Waitara and Bell Block, and this week Taranaki Regional Council staff will be in those neighbourhoods for a new assessment of the extent of the problem.

Residents will be able to bring ant samples from their properties to temporary identification and display stations to see if they are Argentine ants - considered one of the world's most invasive and problematic species.

If the ants are identified, residents will be able to obtain effective bait and poison at a cost of about $55 per property per year. Argentine ants resist most commonly used sprays or poisons.

Pest management staff will be in the following areas on the following days:

* Westown: Woolworths Tukapa St, Wednesday 5 December, 9am-noon. * Blagdon: Behind Four-Square Store, Wednesday 5 December, 1pm-4pm. * Waitara: Cnr Rahiri St and Princess St, Thursday 6 December, 10am-3pm. * Oakura: Oakura Hall Friday 7 December, 10am-3pm. * Bell Block: Parklands Shopping Centre, Saturday 8 December, 10am-3pm.

As spraying the ants makes identification difficult, residents are asked to collect ants in a clear plastic or glass container and store them in the freezer overnight.

Taranaki Regional Council Director-Operations Rob Phillips says this is the time of year when the ants are active and they are likely to be more widespread than is currently known.

He says the Council aims to prevent the spread of Argentine ants and is keen to provide information and support to those affected.

Under the Council's Pest Management Strategy, residents are responsible for effectively controlling infestations on their property.

For more details, see www.trc.govt.nz .


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