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Fears Asian super ants could invade Britain after discovery of huge colony

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 30/06/2018 Patrick Grafton-Green

Britain faces a summer invasion by Asian super ants known to chomp their way through electrical cables and spark fires.

Pest controllers have discovered a rare colony of a million of the insects, also known as fire ants, on two streets in Eastbourne, Sussex.

Paul Bates of Cleankill Pest Control, which is dealing with the infestation, said it was the biggest colony he had seen.

He told the Daily Mail: “It's the biggest infestation I've heard of in Britain – it stretches across two residential streets in Eastbourne and if it wasn't caught in time it could have spread exponentially.

“We are dealing with it at the moment, but would warn people to look out for them as they are attracted to electricity and can cause blackouts and fires.”

The ants tend to gather around electricity cables or junction boxes and have been known to chew through cables causing fires in homes.

They are hard to kill because they form huge colonies consisting of tens of thousands of inter-connected ants, and have become resistant to treatments.

The creatures first arrived in the UK in imported pot plants and the first colony was found in Gloucestershire in 2009.

In 2014, a huge infestation of ants were found at a home in Hendon, north London, the first of the rare insects seen in the capital.

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