CAUTION: INVASIVE FIRE ANTS

Last update
07/07/2017

Investigations concerning fire ants their results

(1)Results of visual investigation of Port Island
Kobe City Government officials and workers from local businesses completed a visual inspection of Port Island on the 27 June:
【Visual investigation period】 14 June – 27 June
【Result】 No invasive fire ants of either species (Solenopsis invicta or geminata) were discovered.

(2)Results of the investigation using traps in the streets and other areas surrounding container yard PC-18
In the streets and other areas surrounding the container yard PC-18 where the two species of fire ant were first discovered, the following trapping investigation was undertaken in collaboration with the Kobe-Osaka International Port Corporation:
【Trapping period】 19 June – 23 June
【Location】 The streets and area surrounding the container yard PC-18, where both species of invasive fire ant were both confirmed.
【Result】 No invasive fire ants of either species (Solenopsis invicta or geminata) were discovered.

(3)Results of the investigation using traps within container yard PC-13 and in the surrounding areas
An investigation was carried out both on the premises of container yard PC-13, which is connected to the Chinese port of Nansha, and in the surrounding streets. The investigation was undertaken in collaboration with the Kobe-Osaka International Port Corporation.
【Trapping period】 Surrounding streets: 19 June – 23 June
PC-13 premises: 22 June – 27 June
【Result 】No invasive fire ants of either species (Solenopsis invicta or geminata) were discovered.

(4)Results of the investigation using traps within container yards RC 4 and 5, and in the surrounding areas
An investigation was carried out both on the premises of container yards RC 4 and 5, which are connected to the Chinese port of Nansha, and in the surrounding streets. The investigation was undertaken in collaboration with the Kobe-Osaka International Port Corporation.
【Trapping period】Surrounding streets and RC 4-5 premises: 22 June – 27 June
【Result 】 No invasive fire ants of either species (Solenopsis invicta or geminata) were discovered.

(5)Results of the investigation using traps on the road bordering the harbor on the east side of Port Island
As a precaution, an investigation using traps was undertaken on the road bordering the harbor on the east side of Port Island.
【Trapping period】22 June – 27 June
【Result 】 No invasive fire ants of either species (Solenopsis invicta or geminata) were discovered.

Caution: Invasive fire ants

On the 13 June 2017 the Japanese Ministry of the Environment announced that “Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta), an invasive species possessing a strong venom and originating from South America, have been discovered in Japan for the first time. The ants originated from a container which had stopped at the Port of Kobe on route to another destination”.

In light of this information from the Ministry of the Environment, the Kobe City Government immediately launched an emergency investigation, in cooperation with the relevant Port Bay stakeholders. As a result of this investigation on the 18 June individual fire ants were confirmed at the Port Island Number 2 Container Yard, and in conjunction with the Ministry of the Environment and experts, an emergency extermination was carried out using insecticide.

During the Ministry of the Environment’s investigation of the container yard (PC18), on the 20 June some ants were found which resembled fire ants. On the 21 June it was confirmed that these were a different species of fire ant (Solenopsis geminata), and an extermination was carried out.

The existence of Solenopsis geminata has been confirmed previously in Japan. Whilst the venom possessed by this species is comparatively weaker than that of Solenopsis invicta, in addition to carrying out an investigation of the area in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, if any specimens are discovered they will be promptly exterminated.

Presently there have been no additional confirmed fire ants. An investigation and pest control will be carried out in continuation of the above investigation, and all efforts will be put into preventing any potential harm from occurring.

In the unlikely event that these fire ants are discovered, please pay close attention to the following:

What to do if you see fire ants

Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta)
Red-brown coloured body with a black-red coloured abdomen
Size: 2.5-6mm

Fire ants (Solenopsis geminata)
Red-Brown coloured body with a brown coloured head
Size: 3-5mm

Solenopsis geminata are of the same genus as Solenopsis invicta and as such share the same type of venom, however their venom is not as strong as that of Solenopsis invicta.
 

What to do if you are stung by a fire ant

For inquiries:
  • Fire ant inquiry line
          09:00-17:00 Open on weekdays, (078)322-6250
  • Kobe general call center
          08:00-21:00 Open 365 days a year, (078)333-3330