SEOUL, Oct. 5 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea is ramping up efforts to prevent foreign fire ants from further spreading in the country after they were first detected in the southern port of Busan last week, government officials said Thursday.
Some 25 fire ants were discovered in a storage container at Busan’s Gamman port last week, and a nest capable of accommodating 1,000 was found in the same place the following day. Officials have since been carrying out thorough inspections of the entire port, with no additional ones reported so far.
The highly invasive alien red ant species has a sting that can cause severe allergic reactions, including breathing problems that sometimes lead to death.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it has installed 2,358 monitoring traps at 34 sea ports across the country including the ones in Masan, Sokcho and Incheon, and two inland ports.
Agriculture Minister Kim Yung-rok visited Incheon Port, west of Seoul, earlier in the day to check the inspection and monitoring process.
The government said it has completed 74 percent of the inspection of Gamman Port as of Wednesday, or 64 out of 87 zones it divided the area into to conduct the examination.
“We think there is a low possibility they’ve moved to other regions, but we’ll continue the monitoring throughout the holiday,” a ministry official said.
South Korea is on the Chuseok holiday this week, similar to Thanksgiving in the United States.