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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in crazy ants
05
May

The Ant Wars

Posted on in News
[This article appeared in the Weekend Australian colour magazine on 2 May, under the title Rise of the Super Colonies (print edition) and Red imported fire ants, electric ants, yellow crazy ants: will they take over Australia (online). This is closer to the version I submitted than to the version published after sub-editing.]
 

We are bombarded with so much news these days that many Sydney residents would have missed the reports last November about fierce fire ants on the city’s doorstep that threatened to ruin the Australian way of life and ‘cost the economy billions’.

Those who noticed could take heart from the NSW government’s robust response. The single nest found at a Port Botany freight terminal drew a swarm of emergency response experts, aided by three ‘elite’ odour detection dogs with enough snout-power to zero in on a single ant. Poisons were laid and hundreds of home gardens searched up to two kilometres away in an operation leaving little to chance.

The dogs were on loan from Queensland, where, since 2001, close to $300 million has been spent trying to oust red imported fire ants (to give them their full name) from around Brisbane, so far without success. Funding decisions to be made soon could decide whether Australia ends up like the southern US, where, to quote Texan professor of entomology Bradleigh Vinson, people in infested areas “do not have picnics on the lawn, go barefoot, sit or lay on the ground, or stand in one place without constantly looking at the ground near their feet to be sure the ants are not swarming up their legs.”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tim says #
    There has been research on some of these ants in their countries of origin. It has not resulted in biological control agents of an
  • Viv Armitage says #
    Wondering which are their countries and region of origin and what, if anything, keeps them in check there, if there might be some