Fire ants have been in the Japanese news quite a lot recently. It seems that they were not known to be in Japan before this year. In late May, the first fire ants in Japan were found in a shipping container from China in the port of Kobe. In early July fire ants were found in the port of Tokyo in a container from Hong Kong. Also in July, over 700 fire ants were found in a crack in the asphalt at the Port of Yokohama. So far, fire ants have been found in Tokyo and six other prefectures. Their sting can cause a severe allergic reaction that can lead to death.
I knew about fire ants when I lived in the US, had them in my yard, and had been bitten by them. I tried to avoid their big dirt mounds and being bitten, but I didn't know they were so dangerous. I don't know if we had the Red Imported Fire Ants, but it's possible.
After the ants were found in Nagoya, the Japan Sumo Association issued an official fire ant warning to wrestlers competing in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in that city last month. Competitors were warned to keep their shoes on when walking to training rooms.
Last week the Japanese government began searching for fire ants at 68 ports that regularly receive shipping containers from other countries. This is serious business.