Pacific Biosecurity Gets Control Over Invasive Ants In Kiribati, Tokelau

Yellow crazy ants can kill animals 500 times their size threatening ecosystems

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 11, 2017) – Killer ants which were threatening fragile ecosystems on Kiribati and Tokelau have been brought under control according to a group working to control invasive ants in the Pacific.

Wellington-based Pacific Biosecurity has been working to control yellow crazy ants on Atafu and eradicate them on Kiritimati.

The ants can kill animals over 500 times their size including crabs and seabirds, posing a big threat to local ecosystems.

Pacific Biosecurity's programme manager Monica Gruber said funds from the New Zealand aid programme helped develop a toolkit and website for dealing with the problem.

Dr Gruber said communities can help manage the ant population, but there were some hurdles.

"When the ants get into really high numbers, it's really hard to stop them from getting into food and crawling all over people. Usually we use pesticide in that sort of situation," Monica Gruber said.

Pacific Biosecurity is also planning to tackle Tuvalu's yellow crazy ants problem and the mealybug population in Tokelau.

Radio New Zealand International
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