Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Fire Ants Invade Italy

This is old news at this point but The Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta has invaded Italy. Being on a few Ant Discords and Facebook Groups word on the street is a kid thought it would be great to send a colony to his friend in Italy. But his friend had no effing clue what to do with them and just dumped them in their yard. Oh unintentional Echo Terrorism, the CIA would be proud. 

Thanks to iNatrualist we can monitor their spread. Or at least monitor where people who use this app/website to ID and report ants in that area. 

Something that jumps out at me is this gap in the dots. When Fire Ants first invaded the US they spread at a rate of 5 miles per year. Assuming that holds true in Italy there should be a dot somewhere in this area I've drawn a circle around. Either that or they've already established a colony in nursery plant or farming media and been shipped around which might help explain this sort of coastal distribution.

There are likely dozens of colonies around each of these dots that haven't been reported. 

Anyway we'll check back in with this invasion from time to time.