Non-native ants are breeding en masse at Osaka International Airport

A non-native ant species has been found breeding in large numbers at Osaka International Airport in western Japan.

Officials from the airport operator and local municipalities said they found Argentine ants after inspecting more than 10 hectares on the west side of the land on March 29.

The insects, which measure about 2.5 millimeters in length, are native to South America and designated by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment as an invasive alien species.

Officials found numerous colonies, each estimated to be populated by more than tens of thousands of ants. The pests are believed to have been breeding for several years.

Officials from the Environment Ministry and other organizations say this is the first time that a non-native invasive ant species has bred in large numbers at an airport in the country.

The head of the Biodiversity Division of the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Goka Kouichi, explains that ants tend to congregate around electronic equipment and cables and could cause short circuits or other malfunctions in equipment. air traffic control. He said the ants may have already arrived at other airports, so those facilities should be inspected immediately.

The operator of Osaka International Airport plans to launch a full-scale inspection and extermination of pests.