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In Picatou County in Nova Scotia, they call it the ‘red menace’ and its bringing the community together to try to find a solution. The area’s fire ant problem is out of control according to The Chronicle Herald.
How bad is it? So bad that area residents who have experienced severe allergic reactions to fire ant bites are scared to go outside. In fact, one carries an EpiPen, in case the worst happens.
“It felt like I was on fire from my wrist to my shoulder,” Teresa Jordan said Thursday of the wound that appeared red, swollen and eventually blistered [two years ago].
On Monday, Ms. Jordan and community members are gathering to discuss how to combat the aggressive, Europen fire ant infestation that have made a home on their properties. Disconcerting to residents is how the ants (which are reddish-brown and 4 to 5 millimeters in length) stay adhered to one’s body even as one swats and tries to brush them away.
In an interview with The Chronicle Herald, Lise Charbonneau, pesticide program coordinator for Clean Nova Scotia says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed that European fire ants are formidable and numerous pests in the area. Ms. Charbonneau has received an increased number of phone calls about the pests since mid-summer.
Residents have every reason to be concerned in the United States, for example, 80 fatalities have been recorded from anaphylaxis brought on by fire ant bites.
With ants nesting in decaying logs and soil near rocks and other detritus, homeowners have solutions they can use from the new fact sheet created by local officials which recommend exterminating the ants by combining one part borax to 19 parts icing sugar, and then mixed with enough water to form a paste which is then applied in and around where the fire ant lives.
Additional, recommended fire ant tips include:
- No moist soil, plants or mulch be moved in fire ant hot spots unless thoroughly checked for the fire ant.
- Decrease the number of nesting sites such as wood and stone piles – anywhere with possible moisture.
- Keep all food and discarded food properly covered and stored.