Thursday, 15 August 2013

Invasive ants: 'Stowaway' insects spreading around world

The problem of invasive ants may be far worse than previously thought.

A Spanish team of scientists has found that larger than expected numbers of the insects are being unwittingly shipped around the world.

The researchers warn that many of these species are establishing colonies in their new habitats that could pose a threat to the environment, infrastructure and human health.

Lead author Veronica Miravete, from the University of Gerona in Spain, said: "Due to their small size, most ants are transported involuntarily in containers and other boxes, together with soil, wood, ornamental plants and fruits etc, on ships or airplanes."

Tiny globetrotters

The research team looked at the numbers of exotic ants in the Netherlands, the United States and New Zealand.

They found far more of these accidental stowaways than had previously been reported.

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