Fire ants invade popular dog park

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The City of Richmond has posted warning signs in a popular dog park warning pet owners about an invasion of tiny – but very nasty – European fire ants.

When disturbed, the ants will deliver a stinging, itching bite, similar to a severe bee sting. If you’re stung repeatedly it can lead to an allergic or anaphylactic shock.

McDonald Beach Park is the latest location in B.C. to be hit with a fire ant problem.  More than 20 locations in Vancouver, Richmond, North Vancouver and Burnaby have experienced the pests living in bushes, trees and undergrowth.

An official with Metro Vancouver, Jen Grenz, told CTV Vancouver the miniscule ants show up everywhere from public parks to picnic grounds to community gardens, and have the tendency to get aggressive if their nests are disturbed.

That means curious dogs that deviate from the trails are rewarded with bites to their legs and paws, which can lead to stinging welts.

The City of Richmond says not to move any soil, ants or plants from infested areas, and to get out quickly if you find yourself around any ants.

Infants, children and pets may be more affected by stings

If you have a stronger reaction than minor swelling, redness and itching you’re urged to call HealthLinkBC at 811 for symptom advice.  An extreme allergic anaphylactic reaction can be life-threatening and requires emergency care.

For more information call 604-276-4316.

Fire ants via shutterstock

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Darcy Matheson is the founder of PetFundr, a crowdfunding site for animal welfare projects. Her first book, "Greening Your Pet Care," is available on Amazon and in major book and pet stores.
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