DAEGU, Sept. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — A red fire ant queen and seven other ants were discovered on a construction site in the southeastern city of Daegu, prompting officials to boost countermeasures against infestations, authorities here said Tuesday.
The Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency confirmed that the highly invasive ant species were discovered in Chinese landscape rocks used at a construction site. The insects were detected on Monday in the city located 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
It is the second time that an ant queen has been found in the country. Another was confirmed in the western port city of Incheon in July.
The landscape rocks were imported from the southeastern Chinese port of Guangzhou and arrived at Gamman container terminal in the Busan port on the southeastern coast on Sept. 7. They were delivered to the construction site on Sept. 10 and 11, the environment ministry said.
Quarantine officials have prohibited all movement from the site and disinfected about 120 rocks to prevent further spread of the species. They have conducted an in-depth analysis of the area, the ministry said.
In September 2017, about 1,000 red fire ants and their colony were spotted at the Busan port, causing fears that South Korea may no longer be safe from the aggressive species. The ants are found in countries such as the United States, Australia and China.
Red fire ants have a sting that can cause severe allergic reactions in people, including breathing problems, and in severe cases can lead to death.