Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications » Publications at this Location

Research Project: Management of Fire Ants and Other Invasive Ants

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research

Title: Biosecurity plan for invasive ants in the Pacific Region

Author
item VANDERWOUDE, CASPER - University Of Hawaii
item BOUDJELAS, SOUAD - University Of Auckland
item GRUBER, MONICA - Victoria University
item HOFFMANN, BENJAMIN - Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
item Oi, David
item PORTER, SANFORD - Retired ARS Employee

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/17/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Most Pacific islands have not evolved native ant communities, and their ecological environments are naive to invasive ants. The impacts of invasive ants are often more far-reaching on Pacific islands than at other locations, threatening not only delicate and complex island ecosystems, but the livelihoods and wellbeing of island communities. Invasive ants such as the yellow crazy ant and the little fire ant, have established on some islands and improving mitigation is needed. Red imported fire ants, tawny crazy ants and other ants while not yet present, pose a potentially devastating threat to Pacific islands and preventing their introduction is imperative. Guidelines for a regional approach to invasive ant biosecurity are presented which include the elements of: 1) prevention, 2) early detection and rapid response, 3) ongoing management of established invasive ants, 4) capacity building of invasive ant biosecurity, 5) public awareness and engagement, and 7) research to improve detection and mitigation.

Technical Abstract: The well-being of Pacific island communities and the ecosystems that support them are inextricably linked. Island ecosystems are fragile, complex and have often evolved in isolation. Many species have not evolved defences against common predators such as rats, cats and invasive ants and the introduction of new invasive species threatens the delicate balance between island communities and the ecosystems that nourish and sustain them. Invasive ants pose an especially severe threat and impact human health, agriculture and the natural environment. A best practice integrated biosecurity system is needed to prevent the entry and establishment of these species as well as mitigate impacts caused by priority invasive ants currently present in the region. We recommend a regional approach to invasive ant biosecurity be considered, which includes the essential elements of prevention, early detection, rapid response, ongoing management, capacity building, outreach and research. This system should operate at island, national and regional scales.