Over 800 red imported fire ants, including a highly poisonous queen ant, were discovered at an apartment construction site in Buk-gu, Daegu. This marks the first time a red fire ant queen was found inland and not near the port.
The Ministry of Environment announced on September 18th that the ants were in landscape stones shipped from China. After conducting pest control they found an ant hive containing one queen, 2 princesses, 30 male ants, and 770 worker ants. There are no signs that the ants came from the floor of the apartment or nearby areas.
It has been confirmed that the landscaping materials which contained the ants came from Huangpu Port in Guangzhou, China. The materials arrived in Busan on September 7th and were delivered to the construction site on the 10th and 11th. The government stated, “It is worrisome that large amounts of ants, including a queen, were discovered inland. However, there is a low possibility that the queen ant was able to infect the local ecosystem.”
The Ministry of Environment along with local authorities have installed ant traps within a 2 km radius. In addition, they will monitor ant populations for the next few months. A ministry official said, “We will closely monitor and supervise the situation to be ready for all possible outcomes.” If you are stung by a red fire ant, you will feel severe pain and itchiness. In severe cases, symptoms include dizziness, difficulty breathing, and anaphylactic shock, which can lead to death.
Red imported fire ants typically live in South America and have reddish-brown bodies with black-red bellies. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), they are one of the “100 most malicious and invasive species in the world” and have been classified as “ecological disruptors” by the Ministry of Environment.
Reporter Hong Joon-hun firstname.lastname@example.org