Small stuff can cause big problems

IMPORTED HORROR: Red fire ants have caused havoc in Florida and have now been identified in Queensland. More than 80 people in the USA have died from their stings.

INVADING ant supercolonies are threatening to turn Australia into an environmental, agricultural and social basketcase, the Invasive Species Council has warned.

The council’s chief executive officer, Andrew Cox, said if Australia fails to tackle the growing supercolonies of red fire ants in Queensland their presence in our cities and rural areas will radically alter our way of life.

“These supercolonies could threaten nearly all aspects of agricultural life in Australia, fundamentally change our easy-going outdoor lifestyle and irrevocably transform our landscapes,” he said.

“In Texas people in fire ant infested areas are talking about an ecological meltdown.

“They are too afraid to have picnics on the grass, go barefoot, or even stand in one place without constantly worrying about fire ants swarming up their legs and stinging them multiple times.”

The fears follow warnings published recently in The Australian by biologist Tim Low who pointed out fire ants could eventually invade 90 per cent of urban Australia.

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