Science News

Alien Ant Invasion in Hong Kong

Sun, 20th Feb 2005

Part of the show Cancer and Complementary Therapies

Scientists in Hong Kong are considering introducing ant eaters to control a recent outbreak in alien ants. The ants, called red fire ants, are thought to have arrived from South America in imported pot plants. Ant hills were first spotted in fields and are now popping up all over the city, including Disney Land Hong Kong. Although red ant bites are not usually fatal, they can be very painful. Some people are allergic to ant bites, and a nasty nip can trigger a dangerous allergic reaction. As these ants have only just been introduced, this may be the perfect time to stamp on the invasion and stop the ants spreading any further. One of the solutions suggested by the Hong Kong government is an army of anteaters. This natural predator would wander the streets and hoover up the ants. Whether this strategy will work is yet to be seen. Other examples of biological control, such as the cane toad in Australia, have ended in disaster.


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