24 Sep 2007

French Polynesia fights invasive ant specieis

6:26 am on 24 September 2007

French Polynesia's environment department says it's struggling to fight an invasive ant species.

The little fire ant has been blamed for reducing diversity and overall abundance of flying and tree-dwelling insects in the area it settles.

Officials believe the little fire ant, also know for its painful sting - arrived in French Polynesia on a container from New Caledonia.

Eric Loeve of French Polynesia's environment department says it will cost the government millions of dollars to eradicate the ants.

"When the little fire ant settles in a place, the place is lost, in terms of human activities and biodiversity."

Eric Loeve says the little fire ant is also found in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and more recently Papua New Guinea.