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Queensland: About billion dollars being spent to eradicate ants

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Half billion dollars will be spent on attempting to eradicate the red imported fire from Queensland by 2032 according to ABC News.

The red imported fire ants are dangerous as they can cause an anaphylactic shock in some people, which may result into death. This reduces people’s willingness to participate in outdoor work and leisure activities.

The research by National Allergy Centre of Excellence (NACE) says that the health impacts of fire ants would be ‘astonishing’ if they were to become endemic in Australia. This will mean that approximately 8.6 million people are stung each year.

Ashley Bacon, the program director of the National Fire Ant Eradication Program says that the ants can be defeated and he’s confident that the outbreak will be eradicated.

Micheal Goodisman who is Georgia Tech professor and has studied fire ant movements in the Southern United States where ants are endemic isn’t sure that this is possible.

“I don’t know if it will ultimately be successful, because they can really reproduce quickly. Once they’re in, it’s really hard to get rid of things.” Professor Goodisman said.

Mr. Bacon said that one thing that is not well known is that they have actually had multiple incursions in Australia that they have eradicated on all but one occasion.

“There is a belief that the fire ants had been here for a number of years before they were discovered. They had a bit of a head start. However, with 20 years of experience, we have a method that we know that works.” Mr. Bacon said.

In Australia the ants are moving approximately four kilometers per year and they may not cost much to be eradicated compared to 48km per year in the USA and 80 km per year in China, where attempts to control them are costing billions of dollars annually.

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