The fire ants are invading Australia’s backyard, and it’s getting a lot more dangerous for the people living there.
The invasive species has been spotted in several states including Queensland and Western Australia, and the latest sighting was reported in the ACT, where an elderly couple was attacked by an army of fire ants on Tuesday.
The woman and her family were on a walk on a bushland property near the coast, when they encountered a swarm of ants on their property.
The ants were attacking the couple, who was also bitten.
“The lady got bitten by the ants,” the couple’s dog owner, Gary Houghton, told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“I was trying to hold on to the fence as the ants moved across the yard, and I got bit by one of them.”
Houghton and his wife are both retired and live in a retirement community in the bushland.
They were able to escape by pulling their dogs over and covering them with a piece of wood, but it wasn’t long before they found themselves under the protection of the ants.
The ants attacked the couple and Gary Hougton said he was left feeling “like I was in a zombie apocalypse”.
“I could feel the ants in my hands, I could feel it on my face,” he said.
“And I just had to take my dog out and keep it away from the ants.”
Fire ants are common in Australia, but the number of reported incidents has jumped in recent years, to more than a million.
A survey by the Department of Agriculture last year found more than 90 per cent of Australian households have at least one fire ant in their home.
The Department of Primary Industries has warned people to avoid areas where fire ants have recently been spotted, and to wash their hands frequently with soap and water before handling the pests.
The fire ants that have made their way into the ACT have been introduced to Australia in the 1960s and 1970s and have been known to bite people.
The pests can cause severe damage to a person’s skin, and some have been shown to cause death from the bite.
Topics:antennas,antimicrobial-diseases-other,human-interest,environment,health,australiaFirst posted April 15, 2020 12:30:25Contact Andrew JelinekMore stories from New South Wales