New Zealand appears to have avoided a potential fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) incursion thanks to a smart-thinking yacht owner. According to this report at Scoop, Biosecurity NZ officials were called to a marina in Auckland earlier this February when said yacht owner noticed the ants following a trip that included a stop in the Caribbean, where it is thought that the ants hitched a ride. The officials think the infestation was contained with insecticide treatments but are going to continue monitoring the yacht just to be sure. This story is just begging to be anthropomorphized (no pun intended) - I picture the fire ants hiding out until they thought the coast was clear, only to be confronted by backpack pesticide sprayer-
gun-toting biosecurity officials staking out the yacht :-).
Thanks to Andrew B. for sending in a link to this story. For more ISW posts about fire ants, click here.