Solenopsis invicta, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Wrong, Euronews, Fire Ants Are Unlikely to Flourish in Most of Europe

From ClimateREALISM

By Linnea Lueken

The online publication Euronews’ “Green” section posted an article claiming that invasive fire ants are “likely” to spread due to climate change. This claim is a stretch, based on predicted warming from climate models, and makes only brief mention of the fact that Sicily and other parts of Europe are already suitable habitat for invasive fire ants. Not to mention the fact that fire ants currently thrive in North America.

The article, “Invasive fire ants have made it to Europe – and they’re likely to spread as the climate heats up,” is somewhat temperate compared to other fearful predictive posts often covered by Climate Realism, but still reports uncritically on a study that bases most of its warming related claims on climate model projections of future conditions. Euronews claims that the study “warns that, with the help of global warming, the ants could spread across the continent.”

The article goes on to say that the climate in “half of Europe’s urban areas is already suitable for the species,” however this appears to be a mistake, because later it is clarified that half the urban areas sampled are suitable, much of northern and eastern Europe were not included in the study. This is notable because those regions are the most obviously inhospitable to fire ants. The vast majority of the urban areas “currently suitable” are along the Mediterranean coastlines, and all in places where winters are typically mild. Additionally, urban areas tend to be hotter than the surrounding countryside, especially at night and in winter, due to the urban heat island effect.

Fire ants seem well established in Sicily, which was the main focus of the study, as 88 active, well established fire ant nests have been found near busy port cities in the area. Euronews says the ants are most likely from the southern United States, or China or Taiwan, based on genetics. To be clear, just as in the United States, fire ants didn’t migrate to Sicily due to the climate suddenly becoming hospitable to them. Rather the ants were introduced unintentionally as unwelcome passengers via trade from countries they already inhabit.

Euronews does admit that “the ants could establish themselves in 7 per cent of Europe and the Mediterranean under current environmental conditions,” but they go on to assert “projections show that Europe’s environment is likely to become more widely suited for the ants as the climate heats up.”

As admitted, Sicily, along with 7 percent of Europe (according to the study) already has a climate that is suitable for fire ants. Like much of California, Sicily has a Mediterranean climate, specifically according to Köppen climate types, primarily hot-summer Mediterranean climate that is typified by winters that are too mild to kill fire ants off due to the lack of sustained hard freeze periods. While winters in South America, the fire ant’s native habitat, and the southern United States, are more humid, they still lack periods of sustained hard freeze. This gives invasive ants the foothold they need to spread.

The good news is, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a study that attempted to predict the expansion of fire ant colonies; the ants are largely estimated to remain in areas where the frost depth of the soil doesn’t penetrate too far. The same is likely for Europe, if the invasion isn’t squashed in Sicily fast enough.

To say that fire ants are a threat to all or most of Europe due to projected future warming is more speculation than science.

The study itself relies on model projections from WORLDCLIM v2 scenario SSP245, which while not the most extreme of warming projections, does have an embarrassing recent record of greatly overestimating the warming in the U.S. corn belt, as covered by Climate Realism in “PJ Media, Steve Milloy, and Dr. Roy Spencer Show Climate Models Overestimate Corn Belt Warming.” Most egregiously, they include projections from HadGEM3-GC31-LL, which projected about seven times more warming than has been observed.

Climate Realism has covered just how suspect these models are on many occasions,  but mainstream media outlets continue uncritically report model predictions despite their poor track records.

While it is certainly a good idea to get ahead of a European fire ant invasion, as I currently write this Climate Realism post with my foot covered in fire ant stings myself, there is no need to fearmonger over climate change, especially with models that run way too hot. Invasive species are a serious problem for human comfort and safety as well as native species’ health. Euronews should be able to report on a worrying invasion of fire ants and perhaps offer some solutions without tying their coverage to climate alarm.

Linnea Lueken

Linnea Lueken is a Research Fellow with the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy. While she was an intern with The Heartland Institute in 2018, she co-authored a Heartland Institute Policy Brief “Debunking Four Persistent Myths About Hydraulic Fracturing.”

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Tom Halla
September 19, 2023 6:08 am

There is a tendency to forget just how far north most of Europe is.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 19, 2023 9:03 am

Many of my grandmother’s extended family emigrated from North Uist to Nova Scotia In doing so the ended up 11 degrees further south.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 19, 2023 9:52 am

I was quite surprised years ago to look on a world map and see that Wokeachusetts is at about the same latitude as Rome.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 19, 2023 9:55 am

Which I understand bit the Pilgrims rhetorically right on the butt.

Dave O.
September 19, 2023 6:59 am

Since it’s eco-friendly to be eating insects now, this will just increase the food supply.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Dave O.
September 19, 2023 11:10 am

Fire ants might be a bit too spicy for most people’s taste. 😎

Reply to  Gunga Din
September 19, 2023 11:37 am

Mmmmmm! Formic acid!

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Gunga Din
September 19, 2023 4:42 pm

Too spicy, also to small.

The secret is to wear HushPuppies when you’re in their neighborhood. They attack the brushed pigskin and never get up to your socks.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Mike McMillan
September 19, 2023 4:44 pm

too small.

What happened to the edit function

September 19, 2023 7:32 am

It’s a two pronged attack. Fire ant legions and Asian hornet air cover

“””A staggering increase in the number of Asian hornet sightings in the UK has beekeepers and wildlife lovers there reeling. But the invasive species poses a substantial threat to beekeeping and honey production across Europe.”””

Reply to  strativarius
September 19, 2023 9:26 am

friggn asians

Reply to  DonM
September 19, 2023 2:07 pm

Well , if you will leave your borders open !! 🙂

Might end with a Sunni as lord mayor or something !

Tom in Florida
September 19, 2023 7:48 am

I have had many encounters with fire ants over the years, so many that their bite doesn’t even bother me anymore other than a little annoyance. There are many reported ways to neutralize the toxin but since I always get them while doing yard work, I clean the area well when finished being outside then apply an antibiotic cream just in case to prevent a secondary infection.

My worst encounter was when I was a brand new real estate agent in training. I was so new I didn’t even have business cards yet. The agent training me sent me to a house that he had just sold and closed on to remove his sign rider off the For Sale sign. I ended up standing in some weeds around the sign post that had a fire ant mound hidden there. The attacked by the hundreds climbing up my legs. My only solution was to take my pants off and brush them away before they got to close to my….. upper thigh. Standing in the driveway with my pants off and slapping away at my legs was what the new owners saw as they pulled into the driveway. They just sat in their car staring at me. I realized what it must look like, a half naked man in boxer shorts dancing in the driveway and actually started to laugh at myself. I approached their car to explain but in doing so the driver reached over and pushed down the door lock. I lost it at that. I was finally able to get them to understand what happened and that I was NOT the neighborhood mental patient.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
September 19, 2023 7:51 am

All in a day’s work eh, Tom!

Dave Andrews
Reply to  strativarius
September 19, 2023 8:16 am

But a day he will never forget!

Reply to  Dave Andrews
September 19, 2023 9:48 am

Nor will the family

Reply to  Tom in Florida
September 19, 2023 10:18 am

Tom, luckily, my encounters with fire ants only impacted my arms. My run in was while playing golf in Houston, TX, decades ago…inadvertently dropping my sand wedge on some before I putted. Surprise, surprise, when I picked up the iron. They left lovely little fluid-filled welts that burned initially, then itched for days afterwards.


Reply to  Tom in Florida
September 19, 2023 7:42 pm

That behaviour of aggregating on a victim and stinging in synchrony is one of the more fascinating aspects of the Invasive Fire Ant. That and its rafting in floods (although other ants also do this).

Reply to  Tom in Florida
September 20, 2023 8:24 am

Back in the 1980’s, my father had bought a video camera, and liked to make narrated videos of things that he saw with the family. He had grown up in New York state and lived in New Jersey most of his life, while I moved to Houston in 1980. My parents came to see me there, and my Dad was standing in a vacant lot making one of his videos of my Mom and me, when he stepped in a fire ants’ nest.

The video is hilarious, after about 30 seconds of calm narration, he complains about many stings and the camera is bouncing around wildly for several minutes (he forgot to turn the recording off while fighting off the ants), and the whole family calls it the Fire Ants Dance.

Of course, Houston natives were accustomed to fire ants back then, and knew to avoid little brown mounds with a tiny hole in the middle, and didn’t blame them on global warming. But they can be a nasty surprise for “yankees” visiting the south!

September 19, 2023 8:48 am

“Euronews should be able to report on a worrying invasion of fire ants and perhaps offer some solutions without tying their coverage to climate alarm.” And that is just the problem with fire ants, forest fires, floods, heat waves and near all the other bad outcomes blamed on “climate change.” Those responsible relieve themselves of any responsibility to address and act upon the real cause(s). This is much like the Lucy letter (of Peanuts fame) reading “Whatever happens I am not to blame.”

September 19, 2023 8:59 am

Europe has a current and ongoing invasion of a much more dangerous species. You would think they might stop that, first.

Reply to  Shoki
September 19, 2023 9:04 am

Two problems

Compact on Migration

Reply to  strativarius
September 19, 2023 9:04 am

Sorry, three….

The French

abolition man
September 19, 2023 9:07 am

This could be an excellent opportunity for eco-Nut Zeros to prove their bona fides! Just stake your chosen sacrifice to the ground over a fire ant nest, and then feast on the little critters with chop sticks; like a visit to your local sushi bar! I’d recommend lots of sake and soy sauce.
I know, I know! It’s cultural appropriation from several cultures; but anyone wishing to truly refrain from using other cultural beliefs really needs to return to the Stone Age! Come to think of it, that’s exactly what GangGreen wants! Never mind!

J Boles
September 19, 2023 9:24 am

Story tip – YT video – recycling wind mills – Wind power’s unsolved problem – YouTube

Joseph Zorzin
September 19, 2023 9:51 am

I got bit by one in Yellowstone National Park. It was very painful- like a bad bee sting. At least I think it was a fire ant. And if it wasn’t a fire ant- at least I know it was an ant and it looked like a fire ant. Maybe they’re not in Yellowstone?

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 19, 2023 11:45 am

Could it have been a ground hornet? They inhabit the Rockies.

September 19, 2023 10:44 am

So what?

We’ve had North African scorpions living in the UK for over 150 years. They too came over as stowaways.

September 19, 2023 11:12 am

The explosion of international trade this last century has generalized prosperity around the world. This prosperity, for example, is the main reason why climate-related deaths have fallen by over 95% during the same time.

But international trade, and travel, do have a few downsides. Among them are spread of disease (eg covid) and pests (ie, insects) across borders.

Overall not a bad trade off.

September 19, 2023 11:15 am

The cultists in the Climate Crisis religion/ideology believe everything is the result of globull warming. Mental patients each and everyone of them. May the fire ants, and other pests, plague them.

Bob Rogers
September 19, 2023 1:34 pm

If fire ants are there then they’ve already won. The climate is too mild, and normal poison doesn’t work on them. They will take over unless extraordinarily measures are employed. They will go wherever the frost line is two feet (1/2 a meter) or less.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Bob Rogers
September 19, 2023 10:11 pm

My question what happen when the imported fire runs into the native South Western Fire ant we have here in Arizona, Those little guys are all over here in the summer and yes one you crush on about a dozen others sting you all at once.

September 19, 2023 5:13 pm

Very nice Linnea. Any paper or report that relies on models is suspect in my view. It appears that SSP is going to replace RCP. We need to list all the SSP variants explaining in layman’s language what each variant represents. I suspect that one of the SSPs will look a lot like what observations tell us. We need to tell everyone that this is the only meaningful pathway and using any other is disingenuous. We don’t care how they arrived at the numbers for that particular SSP, the only thing that matters is that it is closest to observations no matter what we have done or not done in the past.

September 19, 2023 7:38 pm

It was lies about Global Warming and the spread of malaria that first alerted me to the web of deceit around ‘Climate Science’. It was as if none of the doomsters had any idea of the historical prevalence and distribution of malaria. Either they had no idea or they were just lying. Possibly both, but as time has gone on I think the latter more likely.

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