Friday, August 11, 2017

Fire Ants in Japan

Fire ants have been in the Japanese news quite a lot recently.  It seems that they were not known to be in Japan before this year.  In late May, the first fire ants in Japan were found in a shipping container from China in the port of Kobe. In early July fire ants were found in the port of Tokyo in a container from Hong Kong.  Also in July, over 700 fire ants were found in a crack in the asphalt at the Port of Yokohama. So far, fire ants have been found in Tokyo and six other prefectures.  Their sting can cause a severe allergic reaction that can lead to death. 



I knew about fire ants when I lived in the US, had them in my yard, and had been bitten by them.  I tried to avoid their big dirt mounds and being bitten, but I didn't know they were so dangerous. I don't know if we had the Red Imported Fire Ants, but it's possible.





After the ants were found in Nagoya, the Japan Sumo Association issued an official fire ant warning to wrestlers competing in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in that city last month. Competitors were warned to keep their shoes on when walking to training rooms.






Last week the Japanese government began searching for fire ants at 68 ports that regularly receive shipping containers from other countries.  This is serious business.  

Do you live where there is a fire ant problem?

9 comments:

  1. I grew up in California. What we called "red" ants were probably fire ants. (Red ones sting, black one's don't). I'm sure I was stung more than once. I have never heard of anyone having a bad reaction–other then momentary pain–but I don't know anyone who has had an allergy either. I suppose they don't seem like a big deal to me since I grew up with them, but an invasive insect is not a good thing.

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  2. I spent 14 years in Miami, Florida and the red ants could be quite bad. They didn't necessarily build mounds so they could be hard to see before feeling them sting you. I used to get rather large welts/blisters so i guess I could see someone have an allergic reaction. I hope japan is able to stop the invasion ASAP.

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  3. Very interesting Pamela,we have lived where we are for 13 years and earlier this year we had trouble with normal ants,everywhere including in the house ,the porch,you could see long lines of them marching towards the house,hope they dont come back in spring,they are a nuisance,lol xx

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  4. Apparently they are here in Australia too Pamela, in Qld as far as I can see, but seems like they will spread. They sound like an aggressive ant, I read they attack in large numbers and bite!! Apparently they came here from the US, China and Taiwan in shipping containers. There are already enough biting things here in OZ without these coming in as well.

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  5. Hi Pamela. No fire ants in Greece, yet. But you never know. If they "travel" via ships, I am sure that one day we will face the same problem. Be careful, my friend.

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  6. I live 30 minutes by bicycle from the spot where the fire ants were found in Tokyo. Should they hitch a ride on the container trucks, well then we will soon have these lethal ants all over the country.

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  7. Fire ants, yes, some people are allergic to their sting.
    But they do have a predator or two.
    The media certainly feeds on this kind of thing.

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  8. Oh geez, I remember about 30 years ago the news talked about fire ants in Mexico and working their way north. A decade later they were in the South in the USA. I have recently read articles that they are in Central Indiana. By now they have arrived in my area. I'm pretty sure I have not seen any, but we have little black ones that bite like crazy. Hopefully if they show up in my yard my toads will eat them. They say each toad eats 1000 insects a day.
    xx, Carol

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  9. According to wikipedia's article about Red Imported Fire Ants, we don't have any of those around here - phew!

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