Skip to comments.Invasive red fire ant spotted in Europe for first time, researchers say
Posted on 09/12/2023 10:54:49 AM PDT by Red Badger
The invasive red fire ant, or Solenopsis invicta, has been found in Europe for the first time and unless quickly halted could quickly alter the continent's ecosystems, researchers reported Monday. Photo by Insects Unlocked/Wikimedia Commons
Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The red imported fire ant, classified as one of the worst and costliest invasive species in the world, has been spotted in Europe for the first time, researchers warned Monday.
Although there have been several "interceptions" of the destructive and stinging South American ant species previously in Europe, an established, mature colony had never been found on the continent until this past winter in Italy, according to the authors of a study published in the journal Current Biology.
The team of Spanish and Italian researchers found 88 red fire ant nests across 5 hectares (12 acres) near the Sicilian commercial port city of Syracuse and determined through genetic testing that the colonies could have come via shipping routes from China or the United States.
The authors said they used wind tracking and species distribution modeling to determined that half of the urban areas in Europe "are already suitable" for infestation by Solenopsis invicta and that climate warming expected under current trends "will favor the expansion of this invasive ant."
Large cities such as Barcelona, Rome, London or Paris could be "considerably affected" by this invasive species, which can impact people's lifestyles due to its abundance and aggressiveness, the researchers warned.
"S. invicta is one of the worst invasive species. It can spread alarmingly quickly," lead author Mattia Menchetti of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Spain said in a release. "Finding this species in Italy was a big surprise, but we knew this day would come."
Unless authorities respond forcefully to the spread of the fire ants, there could be serious consequences for Europe's ecosystems, agriculture and human health, the authors warned, noting its sting is painful and irritating and can cause pustules and allergic reactions, possibly leading to anaphylactic shock.
"Coordinated efforts for early detection and rapid response in the region are essential to successfully manage this new threat, before it spreads uncontrollably," said Roger Vila, principal investigator at the Spanish institute's Butterfly Diversity and Evolution group.
The researchers said the public could play a key role in the detection of S. invicta, considering the ants are frequently found in urban and adjacent areas. It is fairly easy for untrained observers to detect their presence due to their painful stings and the characteristic mounds of their nests.
Is the red ant invasion from Climate Change, or Putin, or both ?
Hate those bastards....found that diluted orange oil kills them instantly...makes their little lungs explode...HA !
Welcome to Florida !!!
> Is the red ant invasion from Climate Change, or Putin, or both ? <
Given that the ants are red and MAGA hats are red, I’m guessing Trump had something to do with it.
I’ll have to try that.
Most of Europe welcomes two legged invaders. What’s the problem here?
Heck of a resume entry. I wonder if they have a SWAT team?
We have them on our rural compound. Its a war to wipe them out. A few always survive and a week later there’s a new anthill. 😣
Fipronil works every time on these little bastards. It slowly poisons them and they take it into the colony and it kills the queen.
Can you force 'diversity' without a SWAT Team?
Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
Two legs good.
Six legs bad!..................
Well, as long as it’s just one, shouldn’t be a prob.
Spray em with a can of black Krylon paint. When they go back down in their hole, they’ll see they are black and start shooting each other.
So now it’s a spotted red fire ant?
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