European Fire Ant

The European fire ant (Myrmica rubra) is an invasive species first recorded in British Columbia in 2010 and has since impacted many communities across Metro Vancouver. These ants are often spread through human activities, nesting in garden and landscape materials.

European fire ants aggressively defend their territory by swarming and delivering painful, repeated stings to any threat, such as people, pets and wildlife that come close to their nests.

European Fire Ants in North Vancouver

In 2014, European fire ants were confirmed present in a select area of Tempe Heights Park. Until recently, the City’s focus has been on containing the infestation, as no successful treatments were known. 

In 2021, Metro Vancouver and the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver developed best management practices for these ants. Insecticide use is now considered the only effective control method available for European fire ants in British Columbia, and successful treatment is limited to smaller infestations.

Approaches for managing European fire ants have advanced rapidly and will likely evolve as researchers test new methods. The City will continue to work with our partners, including neighbouring municipalities, Metro Vancouver and the Province, to help avoid the further spread of this invasive species.

Identification and Reporting

European fire ants are reddish-brown, 4-5mm long, have two waist segments in the middle of the body, two spines pointing backwards, and a stinger that can deliver a painful sting. 
There are many species of ants in British Columbia, including others that are red and sting. An expert should confirm the identification of European fire ants. 

To help avoid the spread of this invasive species, please report any suspected infestations to the City at or call 604-987-7155 and/or contact the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver

European Fire Ant

Management and Control

European fire ants are often spread through human activities. They nest in garden and landscaping materials, including potted plants, soil, compost, tree balls and mulch. Entire nests can be inadvertently transplanted along with these materials.

Prevention is the most economical and effective way to reduce the spread of European fire ants over the long term. 

Tips to help avoid the spread of European fire ants: 

  • Do not move soil, mulch, or plants from infested areas.
  • Check for any ants being carried in garden products (soil, mulch, plants etc.) and return items if found. 
  • Reduce watering and avoid/remove anything from the area that traps heat and moisture. 
  • Dispose of yard waste and soil appropriately.

Contact Us

Phone: 604-987-7155

European Fire Ant
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