Ants spark quarantine

Red Imported Fire Ants, RIFA, Red Imported Fire Ants, Fremantle Port container yard
DPIRD Red Imported Fire Ants surveillance team Dr Peter Langlands (Orange),Lilli Mai Rebel, Vaniek Paille and Lachlan Petersen (beard)

A QUARANTINE area has been established in Fremantle following the discovery of potentially lethal fire ants.

The Red Imported Fire Ant, or solenopsis invicta, is considered a serious risk to people and agriculture.

The quarantine puts restrictions on the commercial movement of soil, bark, agricultural machinery as well as shipping containers, which can’t be moved unless clear of RIFA host or nest material.

The department of primary industries and regional development quickly removed the initial infestation at the port last week, and is currently undertaking “treatment and surveillance” while calling for port workers and local businesses to remain vigilant for the defiant pests.

The ‘fiery’ bite of the South American native can be deadly; when clamped on they inject toxins through an abdominal sting, causing severe anaphylactic reactions in some people and pets.

Fremantle Labor MLA Simone McGurk said no infestations had been discovered outside the port, but the department is calling for anyone who spots the fire ants to report them immediately to http://www.agric.wa.gov.au

by JUSTIN STAHL

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