The Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta, in the Virgin Islands (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

James K. Wetterer, Roy R. Snelling


The best known and most destructive exotic ant species in the US is the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. Recently, this species has been reported from several islands in the West Indies, including St. Croix, US Virgin Islands (USVI) and Guana Island, British Virgin Islands (BVI). In the present study, we report new records of S. invicta on St. Croix (13 sites) and the first records of S. invicta from 3 other of the Virgin Islands: St. Thomas, USVI (7 sites), St. John, USVI (2 sites), and Tortola, BVI (6 sites). Solenopsis invicta appears to be well established in disturbed open environments on all 4 islands. It is important that people in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere in the West Indies, particularly healthcare professionals, are aware of the presence of S. invicta, can recognize the symptoms of S. invicta stings, and know proper treatments for adverse reactions to the stings, including rare but potentially deadly anaphylactic shock.

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