Fire ants can be dangerous and they are not indigenous to Taiwan, but the invasive insect has spread around the globe over the last 20 years and landed in Taiwan. Authorities note that imported red fire ants (solenopsis invicta) first appeared in Taoyuan and Chiayi at the end of 2003.
Yilan Science Park (宜蘭科學園區) is battling an invasion of imported red fire ants. Visitors to the park noticed the large ant hills indicative of fire ants and contacted authorities. The county government subsequently sent a team of professionals on Monday morning to exterminate the insects before they can spread or cause harm to residents and staff in the area.
After being called in, the Animal and Plant Disease Control Center in Yilan County discovered more than 20 fire ant hills around Yilan Science Park, Taiwan Hot (台灣好新聞) reported. The area covers approximately 4 hectares, according to UDN. The science park and local authorities will cooperate with the National Red Imported Fire Ant Control Center to contain the infestation and expand monitoring of the insects.
Exterminators planted poison that the ants would collect and bring back to the colony to reduce the number of fire ants, Apple Daily reported. Follow-up inspections of the Yilan Science Park will be conducted once a month to ensure that the fire ants do not spread.
Authorities noted that Yilan is not considered an epidemic area for the invasive insects, but there are still some fire ant colonies spread throughout the county. In many cases, the fire ants move to new locations because of construction near their colonies.
Last week, construction at the NT$5 billion Yangmei sports park in Taoyuan was delayed when construction crews uncovered fire ant colonies. The city sent in exterminators to eliminate the fire ant problem before continuing with construction, UDN reported.
The Animal and Plant Disease Control Center urges residents to not disturb fire ant colonies. They should instead contact relevant authorities to handle the situation.