These blisters are caused by stings from fire ants. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) is spreading around the world. It is considered to be the world’s worst invasive ant, and has been found and successfully eradicated on three occasions in New Zealand. These ants form nests of fine granular soil into mounds. Stings are painful, like those of a bee, and blisters form at the site of the sting. In rare cases overseas, babies and elderly people have died from reactions to fire ant stings. The most likely arrival points for species such as the red imported fire ant are shipments coming into New Zealand ports.
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