Ant eradication programme draws to a close

15 December 2005

Biosecurity New Zealand will conduct the final stages of its Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) eradication programme in Napier this month and next February.

The programme involves distributing ant bait by blowing it over the face of Bluff Hill from the top, and aerially by helicopter. The work is weather-dependent and needs to be done during still or very light winds and when no rain is expected for 24 hours.

Simon O'Connor, Senior Adviser – Invasive Ant Programme for Biosecurity New Zealand, is hopeful that the first application will be applied between the 19th and 31st of December.

"The bait is not harmful to pets or humans in the doses that we will be applying, but will kill ants and other ground-foraging insects," he says. "The active ingredient in the bait breaks down rapidly in sunlight and will generally be deactivated in a few days. Members of the public should not be affected by it at all."

RIFA was first detected and treated at the Port of Napier in 2004. Since then Biosecurity New Zealand has done two intensive surveys of the port and adjoining residential area, with no further RIFA discoveries. However, Bluff Hill was not able to be covered due to access and safety issues.

"We are fairly confident there are no ants in the Bluff Hill area, but we believe it is still sensible to take a precautionary approach," says Simon O'Connor. "It's in the best interests of everyone that we ensure this pest does not become established in New Zealand because it would have a significant impact on our environment and economy, as well as the health and lifestyles of people living in affected areas."

Several roads will be closed for three to four hours during the aerial operation to avoid the risk of 'rubber-neckers' stopping to have a look while driving and causing accidents. Roads affected are: Hornsey Road, Light House Road from the Thompson Road intersection, and Breakwater Road in between the two port gates. An alternative route will be Shakespeare and Coote Roads, between Battery and Breakwater Roads.

Public notices giving details of road closures will be broadcast on radio stations and published in newspapers.


Media contact: Helen Keyes Senior Communications Adviser Biosecurity New Zealand 027 285 5715



Last Updated: 28 September 2010

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