European Fire Ants: alert and fact sheet

A quick but urgent reminder that one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species – European Fire Ants [Myrmica rubra] were discovered at VanDusen Garden a few years ago.  Some areas along the Arbutus corridor are already infested. These ants are aggressive and can deliver a painful sting when disturbed, though this rarely leads to allergic reaction needing medical treatment. They establish and spread colonies rapidly, and do not have obvious mounded nests, which makes them difficult to control.

European Fire Ants can be easily transferred through the movement of infested garden material. To help prevent the spread of these ants, avoid sharing soil, mulch or plants with others. Thoroughly check newly purchased plants and soil before introducing them to your garden and if there is any ant activity in it at all, do not put it in your garden.

If you are stung or uncover what may be a European Fire Ant colony in your plot:

– notify the MCG Executive immediately by emailing
– collect some ants in a sealed container, if possible, so the City of Vancouver IPM Coordinator can verify whether they are European Fire Ants and discuss the appropriate next steps with the Executive.

Please take a moment to read this fact sheet produced by VanDusen Botanical Garden, Bloedel Conservatory and Vancouver Parks and Recreation which gives detailed information on how to identify and prevent further spread of European Fire Ants.