The Taoyuan City Government on Thursday vowed to exterminate fire ants that have been found at a park near Shanjhu Lake (山豬湖) in Dasi District (大溪), following reports that at least one visitor was hospitalized after being bitten.
The Shanjhuhu Hydro-ecology Park, which opened on Aug. 20, was hailed as a recreational green zone to link the historic areas and parks of Yingge (鶯歌), Sansia (三峽) and Dasi districts.
However, Taoyuan City Councilor Yang Chao-wei (楊朝偉) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Yuemei Borough Warden Huang Wen-chung (黃文中) inspected the park, saying that they heard reports of fire ant bites hospitalizing people.
They filed a request for the Taoyuan Department of Water Resources to address the situation.
Department Director-General Wei Mao-hsiu (魏茂銹) said that it was aware of the situation and on Oct. 30 called in private contractors.
The park sits astride six fertile wetland areas that make it attractive to fire ants, Wei said, adding that experts have identified about 1,000 nests.
Contractors are to start exterminating the ants on New Year’s Eve by injecting pressurized steam, while survivors would exhaust themselves by removing dead ants or be killed by poison bait placed by the nests, he said.
Fire ant bites should be treated by washing with soap, rinsing and applying a cold compress, but boils should not be popped to avoid infection, he said.
Warning signs of severe allergic reaction to a bite include reddening of the face, hives, swelling of the face or throat, slurred speech, chest pains, difficulty breathing and accelerated heartbeat, Wei said.
If such conditions arise, medical attention should sought immediately, he said.
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