Last week we talked about the damaging effects of Fruit flies to the agricultural commodities and how the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) works towards ensuring exotic fruit flies do not come into the country.
In this week’s feature, we take a look at some of the other exotic plant pests which are of concern to BAF and the surveillance programmes in place.
Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA)
RIFA (Solenopsis invicta) are a serious pest because they have the potential to cause major social, environmental and economic impact in Fiji.
In terms of environmental impacts: RIFA ants are very aggressive and voracious feeders of small ground fauna, including insects, spiders, lizards, frogs, birds and mammals. The ants’ habit of eating or damaging seeds can cause major changes in an ecosystem over time. Fire ants are also predatory, attacking insects and animals that pollinate native plants.