Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Fire ants have been found in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture, the first time that the venomous foreign species has been spotted in inland Japan, the Environment Ministry said Monday.
By Monday, around six ants were found in a warehouse in the inland city and 11 ants in the Port of Nagoya’s Tobishima Pier also in the prefecture, according to the ministry and others. Some were already dead and identifying the exact number is difficult.
It is the second time that the species native to South America was found from a container discharged at the port. The first time was on June 30.
The ants found in a container yard at the pier and in the warehouse, to which cargoes were transferred from the pier, did not include a queen, a ministry official said.
The venomous ants were found on goods and in a container sent from the Nansha port in the southern China province of Guangdong via Hong Kong.
On Thursday, the cargo owner found a fire ant stuck to the cargo at the warehouse. After investigating the container in the Port of Nagoya that was used to transport the cargo, more ants were found.
The ministry does not think the risk of fire ants forming a colony has gone up, the official said.
Insecticide bait was placed near areas where the ants were found.
The ministry will expand the area of investigations from a few hundred meters around the places where the ants were found, to 2 kilometers in the ports of Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Kobe, where the ants were discovered. Visual examinations by specialists and placing insecticide bait are planned.
Also on Monday, the Niigata prefectural government said dozens of ants that may be fire ants were found and exterminated in the city of Nagaoka.
The insects were found on a cardboard box shipped from the Philippines to the Port of Tokyo’s Oi pier and then transported to Nagaoka by land, the Niigata government said, adding that it has asked the ministry to examine the ants.Speech