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Trained beagles helping eradicate fire ants at Taoyuan airport

Trained beagles helping eradicate fire ants at Taoyuan airport

Taipei, Oct. 11 (CNA) Three beagles trained by National Changhua University of Education may be among Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport's most accomplished employees, having successfully detected colonies of red imported fire ants over the past five years. The efficient work of these detector dogs, which have been on the job under a contract between the airport and the National Changhua University of Education since 2011, has helped airport management eradicate most of the stinging insects. According to the airport administration, nine-year-old Snoopy, seven-year-old Miffy and four-year-old Oatmeal start their daily four-hour shifts early, at around 5 a.m., and spend their time sniffing out red fire ant colonies at the airport's manhole covers and navigation aided lighting facilities. Excluding runways, parking aprons and terminal buildings, the 616-hectare airport area is divided into 94 red fire ant prevention zones, and only one zone on the airport's periphery continues to have scattered ant colonies, the airport said in a statement. The invasive pests have plagued Taiwan for the past 10 years, mostly in areas with high degrees of moisture. The Taoyuan airport, located near Taiwan's northwestern coast, found itself infested with numerous ant mounds and unsighted ant colonies years ago, and its management moved to eradicate them because the red fire ants could cause serious damage to electrical equipment. To deal with the ants, pest control teams have the detector dogs locate where ant colonies exist and then pest control personnel use potato chips to lure the ants out of their nests and kill them with pesticides. (By S.F. Wong and Lillian Lin)


Updated : 2021-09-27 14:53 GMT+08:00