European Fire Ants Establish Presence in Richmond, B.C.
[caption id="attachment_82321" align="aligncenter" width="523"] This is one of the most common and widespread Myrmica species of the Palaearctic. Occurs in the region stretching from Portugal to East Siberia (till Transbaikalia), and from northern Greece to the forest-tundra natural zone in the North. It is also currently invading Japan and North America where they are considered a nuisance as it is an invasive species.[/caption]Richmond, British Columbia - The city of 190,000 residents forming part of Metro-Vancouver have to worry about the presence of the European red ant as it has now been confirmed to be in the area. This particular red ant has been classified as an invasive species and for good reason. They quickly overrun the area when they form their nest killing off all other forms of ants. They are very aggressive and get pissed off at any ground disturbance making it very easy for someone to innocently get a swarm of angry red ants crawling up their feet and legs. Their sting has been said to be on par with that of a wasp. Don't bother hitting them with commercial grade pesticides as the ants are impervious to them.
The species is native to Europe and Asia and was first introduced to eastern North America in the 1900s. Over the past ten years it has become a significant pest in a number of states in the US and Canadian provinces. European fire ants prefer moist environments, making irrigated lawns and gardens on the West Coast of BC an ideal place to become established.
The City of Richmond is said to be in close collaboration with the Invasive Species Council of B.C. to devise a method of dealing with the ants. While that sounds good on in theory, bear in mind the ant has a well-earned reputation of being impossible to eradicate and prone to breed quickly. So if Professor Rob Higgins, the city's contact at the Invasive Species Council of B.C., comes up with an effective way of dealing with the red ants, he'll likely be a global hero as no one else has been able to eradicate them. Even Professor Higgins himself claimed that if the red ants establish a presence at a city recreational facility or park, the location will be useless to people.
Further complicating matters is the temperate climate of this part of British Columbia which is a paradise for the red ants. They are also adaptive. In one area, they were observed to adapt to the cold as low as -15 C without any loss of life.
The government of British Columbia has put together a great resource page on the European Fire Ant.
[caption id="attachment_82320" align="aligncenter" width="350"] The European fire ant, Myrmica rubra, was first recorded in BC in 2010 and has since been confirmed in several isolated locations in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Chilliwack, Victoria and Courtenay. The fire ant is likely to occur in other neighbouring municipalities. The species is native to Europe and Asia and was first introduced to eastern North America in the 1900s. Over the past ten years it has become a significant pest in a number of states in the US and Canadian provinces. European fire ants prefer moist environments, making irrigated lawns and gardens on the West Coast of BC an ideal place to become established.[/caption]