National / Science & Health

Tropical fire ants found at Narita airport for first time


Tropical fire ants have been found at Narita International Airport for the first time, according to the Environment Ministry.

On Wednesday, five to six of the ants were found around air cargo from Mumbai. About five dozen more were discovered the following day after the cargo was opened.

All of them were worker ants and later exterminated. No injuries or bites were reported.

The airport’s operator, Narita International Airport Corp., on Friday placed traps in 25 areas as a precaution to determine whether any more had made their way onto the premises in Chiba Prefecture.

The tropical fire ant is less venomous than red fire ant that has been making its way to Japan via sea freight. But their bites remains painful and can, in rare cases, cause people to go into shock.

Last year, tropical fire ants were found in Tokyo as well as Aichi, Osaka, Hyogo and other prefectures.