11 Nov 2011

Ecological fears on Guam after a fire ant infestation

5:40 pm on 11 November 2011

Fire ants have been found on Guam for the first time and scientists are worried they could contribute to an ecological disaster.

The ants were found last Thursday by staff from the Beetle Eradication Group in northern Guam.

University of Guam entomologist Ross Miller says fire ants are a threat to vegetation, other insects, geckos and baby birds.

They are also capable of stinging humans, resulting in rashes.

Dr Miller says it is not known how far around the island the ants have spread.

"What we're worried about though, because it is a very heavy infestation that if we can't get rid of it very quickly it will keep expanding. And again if we have it on other sites that we don't know about then the ants will gradually spead throughout the land, and then we would expect some very severe ecological effects"

Dr Miller says if anyone comes across fire ants they should take them into the Natural and Applied Science department at the University of Guam.