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City of North Vancouver battling stinging fire ants in local park

Select areas in the eastern part of Tempe Heights Park will undergo rounds of treatment for European fire ants in June
The City of North Vancouver is applying rounds of treatments for European fire ants in Tempe Heights Park in June. Their sting can give people blisters and cause shock. | 19695866 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The City of North Vancouver is aiming to stop the spread of fire in a local park, but it’s ants, not flames, that are the cause of concern.

Select areas in the eastern part of Tempe Heights Park will undergo rounds of treatment for European fire ants in June. Starting in mid-June, three treatments will be administered in the park’s eastern section near the tennis courts on Tempe Knoll Drive. The work will be carried out by the city’s contractor, Westside Pest Control, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. There are no anticipated disruptions to the tennis courts or playground.

For British Columbians, life had been blissfully stingless until the fateful year of 2010, when the fire ants made their grand entrance. Since then, many communities across Metro Vancouver – both human and animal – have experienced the wrath of these fiery invaders firsthand.

Though their intentions may not be inherently malicious – they just want to defend their territory but do so a little bit aggressively – the painful aftereffects of a fire ant’s sting can persist for up to 10 days if the victim is lucky. If misfortune strikes, the sting can trigger a severe life-threatening allergic response.

European fire ants, also known as the common red ant and scientifically named Myrmica rubra, can even displace native species wherever they establish. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of these risks and take necessary precautions.

In 2014, fire ants were confirmed present in a select area of Tempe Heights Park. Until recently, the city had been focused on containing the infestation as there were no known successful treatments. However, best management practices have advanced in the past couple of years. Insecticide is considered an effective control method, but it is recommended for use only in smaller infestations.

After discovering that it was possible to eradicate fire ants, the city started treating Tempe Heights Park in 2023. A follow-up assessment this spring showed that the treatment has achieved some success, reducing the number of fire ants. The city plans to keep monitoring and treating the nests every year until the ants are completely eradicated.

If you’re itching to learn more about these feisty fire ants and how to help stop their spread, visit

Fatemeh Falah is an intern reporter with the North Shore News. She can be contacted at [email protected].