The red fire ant ranks among the 100 most dangerous invasive species in the world and has spread to more than 10 provinces in China

Technological war "ants" are in action

  Recently, nine departments including the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, and the Ministry of Transport jointly issued the "Notice on Strengthening the Interdiction and Control of Red Imported Fire Ants" (hereinafter referred to as the "Notice"), which was held in Zengcheng District, Guangzhou. "National Red Imported Fire Ant Joint Prevention and Control Action Launch Ceremony".

The prevention and control of RIFA and RIFA have thus attracted widespread attention and become one of the hot topics discussed by people.

  What kind of insect is the red fire ant?

from where?

Compared with the familiar types of ants, what are their characteristics and hazards?

What is the current situation of the spread and harm of RIFA in China?

What are the effective scientific prevention and control methods for RIFA?

Fierce nature, great ecological hazard

  Many Chinese people are undoubtedly very unfamiliar with RIFA.

Indeed, this insect, native to the border areas of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina in South America, is an authentic alien invasive creature, and its reputation was not high in the society before.

As the name suggests, the red fire ant has a red scorpion color, and looks similar to common ants. It is between 3 mm and 6 mm long. It looks shameless and seems nothing special.

  The nine departments of the State Council jointly issued a notice of interception and prevention and initiated joint prevention and control across the country. The high-standard "treatment" of RIFA in China shows that this insect is not only very harmful, but also difficult to prevent and control.

Indeed, the Latin name of the red fire ant means "invincible ant", which reflects its great harm from one aspect.

According to Professor Lu Yongyue, director of the Red Imported Fire Ant Research Center of South China Agricultural University, the invasion of red imported fire ants can cause serious ecological problems, disrupt the normal order of production and life, and it is difficult to kill and control.

  Specifically, the hazards of RIFA can be summarized in the following four aspects: First, it destroys the local ecological structure.

Red fire ants are highly adaptable. After invading a place, they often quickly develop into a dominant population. They not only "drive out and kill" other types of ants in the area, but also eliminate beneficial insects such as spiders, causing huge damage to the original ecological structure and serious ecological problems. Imbalance.

The second is to reduce crop production.

Red fire ants directly feed on crop seeds, fruits, sprouts, shoots, rhizomes, etc., transport and graze honeydew-secreting pests such as aphids, scales, and spread plant diseases and insect pests.

These directly caused heavy losses to local agricultural production.

The third is threatening people's health and even life safety.

After being disturbed, the RIFA will not only not escape, but will also have a strong group aggression. The venom will be injected into the victim's skin through stings, which will cause blushing, hives, and even breathing difficulties and other symptoms in people who are prone to allergies. Those with severe reactions will have symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness and shock. If they cannot be treated in time, they may be life-threatening.

The fourth is a threat to public safety.

Because red fire ants often invade electrical equipment outdoors and near homes, such as electric meters, telephone main cases, traffic signal cases, etc., they may cause short circuits or facility failures, which may lead to public safety accidents.

  It is precisely in view of the serious hazards of RIFA that the media have cited experts in their reports for their iconic evaluation that RIFA is "one of the 100 most dangerous invasive species recognized globally."

Three-dimensional transmission, difficult to prevent and control

  The red fire ant is not only harmful, but also difficult to prevent and control, which is largely determined by its species characteristics and the process of economic globalization.

  The reproduction speed of red fire ants is amazing, which increases the difficulty of killing.

In the RIFA colony, the queen is a key role that is specifically responsible for laying eggs and reproducing offspring. Some RIFA nests have several or even dozens of queens, and each queen can lay 1,500 to 5,000 eggs per day. The number of RIFA can increase in a short time, resulting in an extremely large ant colony. Some nests may have as many as hundreds of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of RIFA.

  In a certain area, the red fire ants can spread naturally in a three-dimensional state of water, land, and air.

Red fire ants can expand to neighboring areas through nest migration and nest division. Although the distance they cross each time is not large, but after a certain period of time, this steadily fighting and step-by-step strategy can show the long-term effect of "conquering the city."

In addition, red fire ants can spread in the air over long distances in a short period of time. Female and male reproductive ants can complete their mating at a height of several hundred meters and land several kilometers away to start nesting, rapidly expanding new space.

It is worth noting that the water flow not only cannot achieve the effect of eliminating the red imported fire ants, but also helps them to achieve cross-distance migration.

Some red fire ants build their nests on river banks or low-lying places. With the arrival of floods, although the nests will be submerged, the ant colonies form "ant cutting" and drift along with the water. When they encounter a suitable nesting site, try to Go ashore to build a nest and live in a new place.

  With the increasing development of the domestic unified market, economic globalization, and the increasing degree of regional economic integration, RIFA has spread through logistics, and more and more cases have been spread through human factors such as objects and vehicles, making prevention and control more difficult. .

It is through international trade, especially international horticultural plants and agricultural products and the subsequent soil movement, that RIFA escaped customs inspections, realized transcontinental and transnational spread, and then was able to use similar methods within a country to survive in areas suitable for survival. Continue to spread.

  The difficulty in preventing and controlling RIFA is also due to its concealment in the early stage of invasion.

The mature nests of RIFA will form obvious raised sand pile-shaped ant mounds, which are easy to identify, but when the nests are just built, they are relatively hidden and difficult to be noticed.

When it is discovered, its intrusion has already developed to a certain extent, which delays the time for governance and increases the difficulty of prevention and control.

The invasion has exceeded 16 years and needs to be contained urgently

  In late September 2004, a severely harmful ant was found in Wuchuan City, Guangdong Province.

As one of the experts, Lu Yongyue confirmed that this ant was a red fire ant through morphological character identification and field investigation in Wuchuan, confirming for the first time that the red fire ant invaded mainland China.

Related experiments have shown that the newly discovered red imported fire ants by Wu Chuan are 100% homologous to the red imported fire ants from Florida, USA.

The field survey results showed that some places in the RIFA outbreak area, such as barren slopes, grasslands, and weedy ridges, have a high occurrence density, which has adversely affected local agricultural production, people’s health, and daily life. .

These research findings provide important scientific basis for the early warning, prevention and rapid extermination of red imported fire ants.

  In January 2005, the Ministry of Agriculture issued an announcement formally announcing the discovery of the red fire ant epidemic in Wuchuan and other places and the inclusion of the red fire ant in the entry plant quarantine pest list and the national agricultural plant quarantine pest list.

At the same time, the Ministry of Agriculture issued the "Emergency Plan for the Prevention and Control of the RIFA Epidemic" (hereinafter referred to as the "Emergency Plan"), announced the four levels of the RIFA epidemic and the corresponding response mechanisms at the corresponding levels, and determined the appropriate level of response. Organizational leadership system, such as the establishment of an inter-ministerial joint meeting system, the establishment of a red imported fire ant epidemic prevention and control headquarters, etc.

In addition, the "Emergency Plan" also stipulates that after the corresponding level of emergency response, relevant parties should immediately start to do a good job of epidemic confirmation, epidemic report, epidemic announcement, blockade control, prevention and control, epidemic investigation and monitoring, and entry and exit quarantine.

In April and November of that year, the Ministry of Agriculture announced the RIFA outbreaks in Hunan, Guangxi and Fujian.

  Although the prevention and control work has achieved certain results, due to the huge number of transmission carriers, especially in recent years due to the increase in the number of commodity transportation and suitable climatic conditions, the spread of red fire ants has accelerated in some provinces and the epidemic has increased.

At present, RIFA has spread to 435 counties (cities, districts) in 12 provinces (regions, cities), the northernmost reaches to the Yangtze River Basin, the east reaches Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and the west reaches Guizhou, Chongqing, Sichuan and other places.

  The "Notice" recently jointly issued by nine departments is the latest deployment on the prevention and control of RIFA in the context of the adoption of the Biosafety Law of the People’s Republic of China and will be implemented on April 15. The practical measures to strengthen the control of invasive alien species in accordance with the law can be said to be unprecedented in intensity.

  Joint prevention and control, comprehensive management

  RIFA invaded mainland China through imported goods. More than 300 batches of 17 items intercepted at ports of entry confirmed that waste materials (waste paper, waste electronic products, etc.) and logs are the main ways to carry RIFA into China.

The spread of RIFA in China is mainly carried by turf, flower seedlings, etc. Among the 95 flower seedlings investigated, 27 species carry RIFA; the incidence of RIFA in turf plantations is 48.8%; among 122 imported areas, turf/ The invasion rate of seedlings carried was 85.2%.

  The "Notice" grasps the two key points of external defense input and internal non-proliferation, and requires strengthening of departmental coordination.

Specifically, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, together with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Water Resources, the Health Commission, the General Administration of Customs, the National Forestry and Grass Administration, the State Railway Administration, and the State Post Bureau established an inter-ministerial RIFA cooperative joint prevention work mechanism. Organize and coordinate interception prevention and control work.

Among them, all customs directly under the authority are required to organize the monitoring of ports of entry, imported goods, and container storage areas, and notify the port operation and management departments to carry out prevention and control; all customs should strengthen imported goods (seedlings, seedlings, Inspection and quarantine of timber, forage, etc.), articles, and containers to prevent the spread of the epidemic into the country.

The "Notice" requires strict quarantine supervision and law enforcement inspection, focusing on strengthening the quarantine of soil-carrying crop seedlings, soil-carrying green seedlings, and turfgrass transferred from the counties (cities, districts) where the epidemic occurred. If an epidemic is found, the transfer should be stopped. It is indeed necessary If the quarantine is qualified, it can be released; the transportation, railway and postal departments are required to supervise and urge road freight operators, railway transportation companies, express companies, etc. to do a good job in the county (district) where the epidemic occurs to carry or receive related goods, mail, and express Inspection of the phytosanitary certificate of the company, so as to ensure that it is not shipped, not accepted and sent without a certificate.

  Emergency killing is an important aspect of the prevention and control of RIFA.

Lu Yongyue said that the RIFA Research Center of South China Agricultural University where he is located has established a technology system for RIFA monitoring, quarantine, and prevention and control suitable for southern China.

In terms of monitoring, three kinds of bait and placement methods with good effects were screened out, and the monitoring accuracy rate was higher than 98%.

In terms of killing, the contact toxicity of 18 insecticides to 4th instar larvae was clarified, and the contact activity of 17 insecticides to worker ants; a low-toxic bait containing more than 10 kinds of pesticides such as spinosyn and abamectin was developed. , Waterproof bait, and forming supporting application technology; creating high-efficiency medicament for killing red fire ants and forming supporting application technology, solving the bottleneck problem that is difficult to prevent and control in rainy and low-temperature seasons.

  The spring and autumn seasons are active periods of red imported fire ants, and are also the best period for carrying out centralized control actions.

Experts believe that as long as relevant parties work together to increase prevention and control in accordance with the requirements of the "Notice", they will definitely be able to curb the spread of red fire ants, provide an important guarantee for the continuous increase in grain production and the sustainable and stable development of the planting industry, and further strengthen the national ecology Security and biosafety barriers.

  Zhang Baoshu

Keywords: