An Overview of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Mainland China

Runzhi Zhang, Yingchao Li, Ning Liu, Sanford D. Porter


The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren is a serious invasive insect that is native to South America. Its presence was officially announced in mainland China in Jan 2005. To date, it has been identified in 4 provinces in mainland China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Fujian) in a total of 31 municipal districts. The total area reported to be infested by S. invicta in late 2006 was about 7,120 ha, mainly in Guangdong Province (6,332 ha). Most of the reported human stings are in the heavily infested area around Wuchuan City. The most commonly reported reactions have been abnormal redness of the skin, sterile pustules, hives, pain, and/or fever. It has been predicted that most of mainland China is viable habitat for red imported fire ants, including 25 of 31 provinces. The probable northern limit of expansion reaches Shandong, Tianjing, south Henan, and Shanxi provinces. Traditional and new insecticides including the bait N-butyl perfluorooctane sulfonamide and the contact insecticide Yichaoqing have been developed and used to control S. invicta. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Chinese government have established an 8-year eradication program (2006 to 2013) for S. invicta in China.

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