The Generalitat prepares a map of the crazy ant invasion to know if it can be eradicated

The recent detection of crazy ant nests (Paratrechina longicornis) in Plaza Catalunya, the Montjuïc cemetery and the Costa and Llobera gardens in Barcelona "is bad news because it is an invasive species with possible environmental effects but we cannot give because we are defeated, we are going to study the situation in depth and if possible, we will act to prevent its expansion", explained Jordi Ruiz-Olmo, head of invasive fauna in the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda of the Generalitat.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
02 April 2024 Tuesday 23:19
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The Generalitat prepares a map of the crazy ant invasion to know if it can be eradicated

The recent detection of crazy ant nests (Paratrechina longicornis) in Plaza Catalunya, the Montjuïc cemetery and the Costa and Llobera gardens in Barcelona "is bad news because it is an invasive species with possible environmental effects but we cannot give because we are defeated, we are going to study the situation in depth and if possible, we will act to prevent its expansion", explained Jordi Ruiz-Olmo, head of invasive fauna in the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda of the Generalitat.

"We became aware of these three new outbreaks of crazy ant a few weeks ago and we have commissioned a study to know in detail the area occupied by this species not only in Barcelona, ​​but also in other nearby municipalities in the metropolitan area, such as Hospitalet de Llobregat or Prat de Llobregat", explains Ruiz-Olmo, acknowledging that they have received numerous queries about possible actions by the Generalitat in this case after the publication in La Vanguardia of the first information about this possible plague.

The map of the extent of the crazy ant in the metropolitan area "will be the essential element to plan any action; depending on the data we obtain, we will be able to know if we have time to eradicate the existing outbreaks, as was done two years ago in the Port of Barcelona, ​​or if we have to settle for living with this new species," says biologist Jordi Ruiz-Olmo. It is not ruled out, on the other hand, that Paratrechina longicornis has already spread to other areas of Catalonia. "This invasive ant has been present for years in Andalusia and is spreading, so it would not be strange if it were already in other areas without its presence having been recognized," indicates this expert from the Generalitat.

In the process of preparing the crazy ant map and planning actions, "collaboration will be requested and the opinions and needs of the affected municipalities will be taken into account," highlights the person responsible for surveillance of invasive fauna in the Generalitat, administration with exclusive competence in this matter in Catalonia.

Ruiz-Olmo considers it very difficult to determine the origin of the new crazy ant outbreaks in Barcelona and the possible routes of spread to other municipalities, "because it is a species that spreads easily - as has been observed in Andalusia -, It adapts well to many environments and finds it easy to feed and reproduce in areas as frequented as Plaza Catalunya.

"There may be some logistical problems, but if the area is not very large, the treatments to deal with this species would be relatively simple; we must remember that it is an ant and that there are effective products for the control of this type of insects, such as which we can use in our homes or in our gardens," says Ruiz-Olmo. Furthermore, in this case, one of the factors to take into account is that the crazy ant - although it may have some negative environmental impact, such as displacing other native species - does not have any effect on human health, he concludes. Ruiz-Olmo.