Invasive Fire Ants Reported On Vanuatu's Tanna Island

Biosecurity officials take emergency steps to eradicate pest before it spreads

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 27, 2017) – A family in Lounalapen Village on West Tanna has been chased out of a new house by fire ants.

The Department of Biosecurity took emergency steps by sending senior Officer Silverio Bule to check the report in the village.

“I can confirm that the fire ants have spread over two hectares of land in the village, the villagers also confirmed they did not transport their crops outside their village,” he told Daily Post.

Director of Biosecurity Vanuatu, Timothy Temukon has warned that if the fire ants are not eradicated then they would threaten the very potato planting project that the Government is promoting on Tanna at present.

“We would not allow any potatoes to be marketed to Port Vila for fear of introducing the ants to Port Vila and Efate”, the Director said.

Meanwhile back in the village, when asked if fire ants have stung the villagers, the owner of the plot of land said they did not know what it was except that the sting was very painful and as hot as being burned by fire.

“One of our girls from here is married to a man from the Banks and it was she who confirmed it was fire ants”, the landowner said.

Asked how serious the threat is, Silverio Bule said it is a very serious threat but that at least the village chickens and cats and dogs have not yet been blinded by the ants as it is happening in Gaua.

However he warned that if the ants spread across Tanna, they are going to disturb the life style of the people of Tanna.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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